Standing Stones, Menhirs, Ley Lines and Ancient Stone Circles

Stonehenge in afternoon sunlight, #1, Oil, 30 X 40 cm, painted from a photo I took on 23 October 1988. (Author's artwork)

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) in Wiltshire, England. The WHS covers two large areas of land separated by about 15 miles (24 km), rather than a specific monument or building. The sites were inscribed as co-listings in 1986. Some large and well known monuments within the WHS are listed below, but the area also has an exceptionally high density of small-scale archaeological sites, particularly from the prehistoric period. More than 700 individual archaeological features have been identified. There are 160 separate Scheduled Monuments, covering 415 items or features. (Wikipedia)

Stonehenge in afternoon sunlight, #2, Oil, 30 X 40 cm, painted from a photo I took on 23 October 1988.  (Author's artwork)

(Dave Ahern Photo)

Stonehenge, close up.

(Gareth Wiscombe Photo)

Stonehenge, a neolithic stone monument constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

(Dilif Photo)

Part of the South Inner Circle of Avebury in Wiltshire, England. Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world. It is both a tourist attraction and a place of religious importance to contemporary pagans. Constructed over several hundred years in the third millennium BC, during the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, the monument comprises a large henge (a bank and a ditch) with a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles situated inside the centre of the monument. Its original purpose is unknown, although archaeologists believe that it was most likely used for some form of ritual or ceremony. The Avebury monument is a part of a larger prehistoric landscape containing several older monuments nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Windmill Hill and Silbury Hill. By the Iron Age, the site had been effectively abandoned, with some evidence of human activity on the site during the Roman period. During the Early Middle Ages, a village first began to be built around the monument, eventually extending into it. In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, local people destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons. (Wikipedia)

(Detmar Owen Photo)

Aerial photo of the Avebury site and village. The chronology of Avebury's construction is unclear. It was not designed as a single monument, but is the result of various projects that were undertaken at different times during late prehistory. Aubrey Burl suggests dates of 3000 BC for the central cove, 2900 BC for the inner stone circle, 2600 BC for the outer circle and henge, and around 2400 BC for the avenues. The construction of large monuments such as those at Avebury indicates that a stable agrarian economy had developed in Britain by around 4000–3500 BC. The people who built them had to be secure enough to spend time on such non-essential activities. Avebury was one of a group of monumental sites that were established in this region during the Neolithic. Its monuments comprise the henge and associated long barrows, stone circles, avenues, and a causewayed enclosure. These monument types are not exclusive to the Avebury area. For example, Stonehenge features the same kinds of monuments, and in Dorset there is a henge on the edge of Dorchester and a causewayed enclosure at nearby Maiden Castle.

Within the henge is a great outer circle. With a diameter of 331.6 metres (1,088 ft), this is one of Europe's largest stone circles, and Britain's largest. It was either contemporary with, or built around four or five centuries after, the earthworks. It is thought that there were originally 98 sarsen standing stones, some weighing in excess of 40 tons. The stones varied in height from 3.6 metres (12 ft) to 4.2 metres (14 ft), as exemplified at the north and south entrances. Radiocarbon dating of some stone settings indicate a construction date of around 2870–2200 BC. The two large stones at the Southern Entrance had an unusually smooth surface, likely due to having stone axes polished on them. (Wikipedia)

(Chris Photo)

Aerial view of the Ring of Brodgar.

(Photo copyright Ian Moss)

The Ring of Brodgar, shown here, is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It is the only major henge and stone circle in Britain which is an almost perfect circle. Most henges do not contain stone circles; Brodgar is a striking exception, ranking with Avebury and Stonehenge among the greatest of such sites. The ring of stones stands on a small isthmus between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray. These are the northernmost examples of circle henges in Britain. Unlike similar structures such as Avebury, there are no obvious stones inside the circle, but since the interior of the circle has never been excavated by archaeologists, the possibility remains that wooden structures, for example, may have been present. The site has resisted attempts at scientific dating and the monument's age remains uncertain. It is generally thought to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, and was, therefore, the last of the great Neolithic monuments built on the Ness. (Wikipedia)

(Fog76 Photo)

One of the four Devil's Arrows. These are four standing stones or menhirs in an alignment approximately 660 feet (200 m) to the east of the A1(M), adjacent to Roecliffe Lane, Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire, England. Erected in prehistoric times and distinctively grooved by millennia of rainfall, the tallest stone is 22.5 feet (6.85 m) in height, making this the tallest menhir in the United Kingdom after the 25 feet (7.6 m) tall Rudston Monolith in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The other two stones are 22 feet (6.7 m) and 18 feet (5.5 m) tall respectively, and it is thought that the alignment originally included up to five stones. (Wikipedia)

Standing Stones, Menhirs, and ancient stone circles

A menhir is a large human-made upright stone, typically dating from the European middle Bronze Age. They can be found individually as monoliths, or as part of a group of similar stones. Menhirs' size can vary considerably, but they often taper toward the top.They are widely distributed across Europe, Africa and Asia, but are most numerous in Western Europe; particularly in Ireland, Great Britain, and Brittany, where there are about 50,000 examples, and northwestern France, where there are some 1,200 further examples. Standing stones are usually difficult to date. They were constructed during many different periods across pre-history as part of the larger megalithic cultures in Europe and near areas. Some menhirs stand next to buildings that have an early or current religious significance. Where menhirs appear in groups, often in a circular, oval, henge or horseshoe formation, they are sometimes called megalithic monuments. These are sites of ancient religious ceremonies, sometimes containing burial chambers. The exact function of menhirs has provoked more debate than practically any other issue in European pre-history. Over the centuries, they have variously been thought to have been used by Druids for human sacrifice, used as territorial markers, or elements of a complex ideological system, used as mnemonic systems for oral cultures, or functioned as early calendars. Until the 19th century, antiquarians did not have substantial knowledge of prehistory, and their only reference points were provided by classical literature. The developments of radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology have significantly advanced scientific knowledge on the subject. The word menhir was adopted from French by 19th-century archaeologists.

The introduction of the word into general archaeological usage has been attributed to the 18th-century French military officer Théophile Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne. It is a combination of two words of the Breton language: maen and hir. In modern Welsh, they are described as maen hir, or "long stone". In modern Breton, the word peulvan is used, with peul meaning "stake" or "post" and van which is a soft mutation of the word maen which means "stone". In Germany and Scandinavia the word Bauta is used (e.g. Bautastein) and this occasionally makes its way into English with the term "bauta stone". Almost nothing is known of the social organization or religious beliefs of the people who erected the menhirs. Their language is also unknown. It is known, however, that they buried their dead and had the skills to grow crops, farm and make pottery, stone tools and jewelry. Identifying the purpose or use of menhirs remains speculative. Until recently, standing stones were associated with the Beaker people, who inhabited Europe during the European late Neolithic and early Bronze Age - later third millennium BC, c. 2800–1800 BC. However, recent research into the age of megaliths in Brittany strongly suggests a far older origin, perhaps back to six to seven thousand years ago.

Many menhirs are engraved with megalithic art. This often turned them into anthropomorphic stelae, although images of objects such as stone axes, ploughs, shepherds' crooks, and yokes were common. With the exception of the stone axe, none of these motifs are definitely portraying what they are named after, and the name used to describe them is largely for convenience. Some menhirs were broken up and incorporated into later passage graves, where they had new megalithic art carved with little regard for the previous pictures. It is not known if this re-use was deliberate or if the passage grave builders just saw menhirs as a convenient source of stone (Le Roux 1992).During the Middle Ages, standing stones were believed to have been built by the giants who lived before the biblical flood. Many of the megaliths were destroyed or defaced by early Christians; it is estimated that some 50,000 megaliths once stood in Northern Europe, where almost 10,000 now remain. In 2019, four menhirs and nearly 1,000 small and big dolmens were found in India at the Pothamala hills at the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. It is believed that the practitioners of the megalithic faith travelled via the sea, as the mass majority of menhirs are located on coasts, islands, and peninsulas. (Wikipedia)

(Wilson44691 Photo)

The Standing Stones of Stennes

The Standing Stones of Stenness is a Neolithic monument five miles northeast of Stromness on the mainland of Orkney, Scotland. This may be the oldest henge site in the British Isles. Various traditions associated with the stones survived into the modern era and they form part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.The surviving stones are sited on a promontory at the south bank of the stream that joins the southern ends of the sea loch Loch of Stenness and the freshwater Loch of Harray. The name, which is pronounced stane-is in Orcadian dialect, comes from Old Norse meaning stone headland.

Although the site today lacks the encircling ditch and bank, excavation has shown this site was a henge monument, possibly the oldest in the British Isles. The stones are thin slabs, approximately 30 cm (12 in) thick with sharply angled tops. Four, up to about 5 m (16 ft) high, were originally elements of a stone circle of up to 12 stones, laid out in an ellipse about 32 m (105 ft) diameter on a levelled platform of 44 m (144 ft) diameter surrounded by a ditch. The ditch is cut into rock by as much as 2 m (6.6 ft) and is 7 m (23 ft) wide, surrounded by an earth bank, with a single entrance causeway on the north side. (Wikipedia)

(Marta Gutowska Photo)

(Chmee2 Photo)

The Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. They are near the village of Callanish on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The Callanish Stones consist of a stone circle of thirteen stones with a monolith near the middle. Five rows of standing stones connect to this circle. Two long rows of stones running almost parallel to each other from the stone circle to the north-northeast form a kind of avenue. In addition, there are shorter rows of stones to the west-southwest, south and east-northeast. The stones are all of the same rock type, namely the local Lewisian gneiss. Within the stone circle is a chambered tomb to the east of the central stone. (Wikipedia)

Silbury Hill

(OrionSM Photograph)

Silbury Hill with a view of flood waters making it appear as an island, courtesy of Simon Man'w.

(Dick Bauch Photo)

Silbury Hill is a prehistoric artificial chalk mound near Avebury in the English county of Wiltshire. It is part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 39.3 metres (129 ft) high, it is the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe[2] and one of the largest in the world; similar in volume to contemporary Egyptian pyramids. Silbury Hill is part of the complex of Neolithic monuments around Avebury, which includes the Avebury Ring and West Kennet Long Barrow. Its original purpose is still debated. Several other important Neolithic monuments in Wiltshire in the care of English Heritage, including the large henges at Marden and Stonehenge, may be culturally or functionally related to Avebury and Silbury.

Composed mainly of chalk and clay excavated from the surrounding area, the mound stands 40 metres (131 ft) high and covers about 2 hectares (5 acres). The hill was constructed in several stages between c.2400–2300 BC and displays immense technical skill and prolonged control over labour and resources. Archaeologists calculate that it took 18 million man-hours, equivalent to 500 men working for 15 years to deposit and shape 248,000 cubic metres (324,000 cu yd) of earth and fill. Euan Mackie asserts that no simple late Neolithic tribal structure as usually imagined could have sustained this and similar projects, and envisages an authoritarian theocratic power elite with broad-ranging control across southern Britain. The base of the hill is circular and 167 metres (548 ft) in diameter. The summit is flat-topped and 30 metres (98 ft) in diameter. A smaller mound was constructed first, and in a later phase much enlarged. The initial structures at the base of the hill were perfectly circular: surveying reveals that the centre of the flat top and the centre of the cone that describes the hill lie within a metre of one another. There are indications that the top originally had a rounded profile, but this was flattened in the medieval period to provide a base for a building, perhaps with a defensive purpose.[9]The first clear evidence of construction, dated to around 2400 BC,[10] consisted of a gravel core with a revetting kerb of stakes and sarsen boulders. Alternate layers of chalk rubble and earth were placed on top of this: the second phase involved heaping further chalk on top of the core, using material excavated from a series of surrounding ditches which were progressively refilled then recut several metres further out.[6] The step surrounding the summit dates from this phase of construction, either as a precaution against slippage,[11] or as the remnants of a spiral path ascending from the base, used during construction to raise materials and later as a processional route. (Wikipedia)

(Lisa G Bayer Photo)

Silbury Hill with associated archaeological sites in the Avebury region ca. 2600 to 2300 BC.

Long barrows are a style of monument constructed across Western Europe in the fifth and fourth millennia BCE, during the period. Typically constructed from earth and either timber or stone, those using the latter material represent the oldest widespread tradition of stone construction in the world. Around 40,000 long barrows survive today.

The structures have a long earthen tumulus or "barrow", that is flanked on two sides with linear ditches. These typically stretch for between 20 and 70 metres in length, although some exceptional examples are either longer or shorter than this. Some examples have a timber or stone chamber in one end of the tumulus. These monuments often contained human remains interred within their chambers, and as a result, are often interpreted as , although there are some examples where this appears not to be the case. The choice of timber or stone may have arisen from the availability of local materials rather than cultural differences. Those that contained chambers inside of them are often termed chambered long barrows while those which lack chambers are instead called unchambered long barrows or earthen long barrows.

The earliest examples developed in Iberia and western France during the mid-fifth millennium BCE. The tradition then spread northwards, into the British Isles and then the Low Countries and southern Scandinavia. Each area developed its own variations of the long barrow tradition, often exhibiting their own architectural innovations. The purpose and meaning of the barrows remains an issue of debate among archaeologists. One argument is that they are religious sites, perhaps erected as part of a system of ancestor veneration or as a religion spread by missionaries or settlers. An alternative explanation views them primarily in terms, as territorial markers delineating the areas controlled by different communities as they transitioned toward farming.

Communities continued to utilise these long barrows long after their construction. In both the Roman period and the Early Middle Ages, many long barrows were reused as cemeteries. Since the sixteenth century they have attracted interest from antiquarians and ; it is from the excavation of the latter that our knowledge about them derives. Some have been reconstructed and have become tourist attractions or sacred sites used for rituals by and other religious groups

The distribution of known Early Neolithic long barrows and related funerary monuments.

(Steffen Heilfort Photo)

Le Menec alignments at Carnac.

(Vanbasten 23 Photo)

Le Menec alignments at Carnac.

(Superbass Photo)

Standing stones of Carnac: Alignement at Kerlescan, Carnac, Brittany.


Standing stones of Carnac: Alignement at Kerlescan, Carnac, Brittany.

The Standing Stones at Carnac, France

The Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites near the south coast of Brittany in northwestern France, consisting of stone alignments (rows), dolmens (stone tombs), tumuli (burial mounds) and single menhirs (standing stones). More than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local granite and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany and form the largest such collection in the world. Most of the stones are within the Breton municipality of Carnac, but some to the east are within neighboring La Trinité-sur-Mer.

The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, but some may date to as early as 4500 BC. The question of which people Carnac stones are to be attributed to is still debated. There are three major groups of stone rows – Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan. They may have once formed a single group but have been split up as stones were removed for other purposes. The standing stones are made of weathered granite from local outcroppings that once extensively covered the area. (Wikipedia)

Ley Lines, found in the UK and others stretching out from Alaise, France

Leys may be defined as lines of energy running over-ground in straight lines, often reflected in the paths of ancient trackways and subsequently Roman roads, and in alignments of prehistoric and historic sacred sites in the landscape. In modern times they were first described by Alfred Watkins in his 1925 book ‘The Old Straight Track’.

In the early 1920's, Alfred Watkins identified ley lines found in Great Britain as being associated with ancient traders’ routes only. He could not find a reasonable explanation, however, for the fact that many of them “traveled up prohibitively steep hillsides”.  These straight-line networks can be found throughout the world, and some of the ley lines stretch for hundreds of miles.

Alfred Watkins first became aware of the prehistoric alignment of ancient sites covering the English landscape. He concluded that a feature of the old alignments was that certain names appeared with a high frequency along their routes. Names with Red, White and Black are common; so are Cold or Cole, Dod, Merry and Ley. (The last as we know,  he used to name the lines, although it has been noted that 'ley' is Saxony for 'fire'). He suggested that ancient travellers navigated using a combination of natural and man-made markers. Certain lines were known by those that most frequented them so that 'White' names were used by the salt traders; 'Red' lines were used by potters, 'Black' was linked to Iron, 'Knap' with flint chippings, and 'Tin' with flint flakes.  He suggested that place names including the word 'Tot', 'Dod" or 'Toot' would have been acceptable sighting points so that the 'Dodman', a country name for the snail, was a surveyor, the man who 'planned' the leys with two measuring sticks similar to a snail's horns (or the 'Longman of Willington') (It is noted that the Germans have similar names such as 'Dood' or "Dud', which mean 'Dead').  Watkins maintained that leys ran between initial 'sighting posts'. Many of the 'mark stones', and 'ancient tracks' he refers to have since disappeared, a situation which is considerably unhelpful to serious research. Similarly to Guichard (above), Watkins believed that the lines were associated with former 'Trade routes' for important commodities such as water and salt. He found confirmation in this through 'name-associated' leys. Even today the Bedouins of North Africa use the line system marked out by standing stones and cairns to help them traverse the deserts. A letter to the Observer (5 Jan 1930), notes similarities with Watkins theories and the local natives of Ceylon, who had to travel long distances to the salt pans. The tracks were always straight through the forest, were sighted on some distant hill, (called 'salt-hill'), and that the way was marked at intervals by large stones (called 'salt-stones'), similar to those in Britain. On the other hand, should the leys be ancient tracks then it should be possible to see one point from another. Also it is noted that there are many ancient 'tracks' across Britain, such as the Ridgeway, and none of them are dead straight.

Both the French and English Ley's have a prehistoric precedence, with roots in the Neolithic period. (

The Long Man of Wilmington Ley, Sussex, United Kingdom.

(Steve Slater Photo)

These straight (at least over perhaps 60 miles with slight changes of path over longer distances, according to variations in map projection) spirit paths are found equally in China as elsewhere in the world, and frequently define the processional routes to major palaces, temples and cathedrals, as well as sites of temporal power, the world over.

Some of the largest Leys describe great circles through a series of important sites around the planet. Others have been dowsed as starting with an energy stream vertically down from the sky, then travelling across the country for perhaps a hundred miles before passing on down into the earth. They can vary from five yards to several hundred yards in width, with only the larger ones being particularly associated with ceremonial sites along their course. (

The St. Michaels Ley Line, aka the Apollo-Athena Line (Mappa Linea Sacra di San Michele).

The Apollo-Athena Line runs across Europe oriented 60°11' west of North. It passes through Skelig Michael in Ireland, St. Michael's Mount in the UK, Mont St. Michel, Mayenne, Le Mans, Tours, Blois, Issoudun, Bourges, Sancoins, Nevers, Moulins, Digois, Charolies, St. Vincent des Pres, Cluny, Macon, Perouges, Lyons, Vienne, St. Beron, Bozel, Sacra di San Michele (Turin) in France, San Michele (Castiglione di Garfagnana), Perugia, Monte Sant Angelo (Gargano) in Italy, Delphi and Athens in Greece, Mount Carmel and Armageddon in Israel. (Miller & Russell)

The St. Michael's Leyline follows the path of the Sun on the 8th May (The spring festival of St. Michael).

The St. Michael's ley has been shown to be inter-related with several other prominent British megaliths through geometry, astronomy and an apparent knowledge of longitude/latitude, not least of all to Stonehenge. Stonehenge, whilst not being a part of the St. Michael ley, is connected with both Glastonbury and Avebury/Silbury through geometry, and also forms the crossing point of several prominent ley-lines - both astronomical and non-astronomical. The first astronomically significant ley-line to pass through Stonehenge was first identified by Sir Norman Lockyer, and later extended to 22 miles in length by K. Koop. This ley follows the path of the mid-summer sunrise on a bearing of 49� 15'. (2) Another significant ley-line to pass through Stonehenge was also identified by Lockyer, and can be shown to extend accurately for 18.5 miles. It skirts only the edge of the henge at the junction of the avenue, missing the centre (and the sarsen stones) altogether. This line runs on a bearing of 170� 45', and appears to have no astronomical significance.

The alignments at Stonehenge therefore appear to offer a fusion of funerary, astronomical and geometric practices, simultaneously connecting three of the most significant locations in southern England. Glastonbury, Stonehenge and Avebury/Silbury, which all align to create a perfect right-angled triangle, accurate to within 1/1000th part. These alignments offer a indication that geometry might be involved in the orientation of some ley-lines. It is arguable that as many of the sites are aligned astronomically, and as geometry is a natural product of astronomy, the effect might be a product of 'automatic' or 'accidental' geometry within the layout of certain sites, but this does not explain geometry between sites which certainly involves surveying techniques, which in turn requires deliberate and applied mathematics (logarithms and trigonometry or their equivalent).

Sir Norman Lockyer (Astronomer-Royal), was the first 'respectable' person to recognize geometry in the ancient English landscape. He noticed the geometric alignment between Stonehenge, Grovely (Grove-ley) castle and Old Sarum (The site where the original Salisbury 'cathedral was built). The three form an equilateral triangle with sides 6 miles long, with the Stonehenge-Old Sarum line continuing another 6 miles to the site of the present Salisbury Cathedral, and beyond.

This extremely significant finding shows both that the early megalithic builders were aware of both astronomy and geometry, and combined them deliberately into their constructions. At the same time as this reasonable astonishing revelation, we are able to see how many ley-markers may have been introduced along pre-existing alignments, and it is important to know the origin of all the markers on  ley in order to accurately determine its origin and purpose.

The megalithic tradition in the British Isles can apparently be traced back to at least 3,000 B.C., if not earlier still. This tradition seems to have been based on a very sophisticated philosophy of sacred science such as was taught centuries later by the Pythagorean school.  As Professor Alexander Thom observes in his book Megalithic Sites in Britain (1967): �It is remarkable that one thousand years before the earliest mathematicians of classical Greece, people in these islands not only had a practical knowledge of geometry and were capable of setting out elaborate geometrical designs but could also set out ellipses based on the Pythagorean triangles. (

Perhaps the most famous Ley in Britain is the ‘Michael and Mary’ line, which runs across England from Hopton in Norfolk to St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, and thence right around the globe. Aligned to Beltane and Lughnasadh / Lammas sunrise, this was first rediscovered by Jean Richer and John Michell and subsequently described in more detail by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst in “The Sun and the Serpent” (1989).

Twin underground telluric currents, known as the Michael and Mary lines after the number of churches dedicated to either Mary or St. Michael to be found along them, weave around the central overground mid-line. This reveals the primal ‘Caduceus’ pattern that can be found within all true Leys: a triple-fold axis composed of masculine, feminine, and spirit currents, which may be experienced by the practising Geomancer as containing information in the thinking, feeling and spirit realms respectively.

(Michael aus Halle)


(Daniel Schwen Photo)


(Bene Phloto)

Externsteine, aerial view.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, two German researchers Wilhelm Teudt and Josef Heinsch claimed that ancient Teutonic peoples contributed to the construction of a network of astronomical lines, called “Heilige Linien" (Holy lines), which could be mapped onto the geographical layout of ancient or sacred sites. According to Teudt, the region of Teutoburger Wald has astronomical lines connecting sacred sites, concentrated around the rock formation called Die Externsteine and located in Lower Saxony, in the center of Germany and was a very special place, the sacred heartland of the land. The area of 'Teutberger Wald', also known as the 'German heartland' has a significant network of these lines which include the Externsteine.

(Kenny Arne Lang Antonsen Image)

The Goseck Henge is an early Neolithic Henge-structure with entrances orientated to the rising and setting winter solstice sun. At c. 5,000 BC, the Goseck 'Henge' is considered the earliest solar observatory currently known in the world. It lies on the same latitude as Stonehenge, at just over 1' minute of longitude further north (approx 1000m ). The Stonehenge 'Post-holes' are dated at least a thousand years earlier than this monument, but the Henge is considerably older than the one in England.

(Ralf Boutragel Photo)

The Goseck Circle (German: Sonnenobservatorium Goseck) is a Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Its construction is dated to approximately 4900 B.C., and appears to have remained in use until about 4700 B.C. Thus, it may be the oldest and best known of the circular enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. Currently, the site is presented officially by the state archaeologists and the local association that looks after it as a ritual or cult structure. The circle consists of a concentric ditch 75 metres (246 feet) across and two palisade rings containing entrances in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the winter solstice days and smaller entrances aligned with the summer solstice. Marketing materials have described the site as one of the oldest "Solar observatories" in the world, but sunrise and sunset during winter and summer solstices are the only evident astronomical alignments emphasized in the remains of the structure. The existence of the site was made public in August 2003. It was opened for visitors in December 2005. (Wikipedia)

(Ch. Pagenkopf Photo)

Dolmen near Rarik.

In the area of present-day Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, up to 5,000 megalith tombs were erected as burial sites by people of the Neolithic Funnelbeaker (TRB) culture. More than 1,000 of them are preserved today and protected by law. Though varying in style and age, megalith structures are common in Western Europe, with those in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern belonging to the youngest and easternmost—further east, in the modern West Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland, monuments erected by the TRB people did not include lithic structures, while they do in the south (Brandenburg), west (Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) and north (Denmark).Though megaliths are distributed throughout the state, their structure differs between regions. Most megaliths are dolmens, often located within a circular or trapezoid frame of singular standing stones. Locally, the dolmens are known as Hünengräber ("giants' tombs") or Großsteingräber ("large stone tombs"), their framework is known as Hünenbett ("giants' bed") if trapezoid or Bannkreis ("spellbind circle") if circular. The materials used for their construction are glacial erratics and red sandstones. 144 tombs have been excavated since 1945. The megaliths were used not only by the bearers of the TRB culture, but also by their successors, and have entered local folklore.

The megaliths in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern were erected as burial sites in the Neolithic, by the bearers of the Funnelbeaker (TRB) culture, between 3,500 and 3,200 BC. Initially, the TRB people buried their dead in pits, often covered with mounds of clay. Later, they erected dolmens for this purpose, but also continued the use of flat graves. All megaliths were erected during a relatively short time period, spanning about 200 years or about seven generations, with the oldest ones dating to phase C of the Early Neolithic, while most were built in the beginning of the Middle Neolithic.The dolmens were built from glacial erratics, with the gaps filled with red sandstone. Presumably, standing stones were transported to the site using rollers, slides, levers and ropes, and the interior of the unfinished dolmens was filled with clay to form a ramp to enable the movement of the cover stones into their final position. After removing the clay from the interior, a barrow (tumulus) was then raised on top of the dolmen, which remained accessible through a passage made from smaller stones. In addition, single standing stones were sometimes placed around the dolmen, forming either a rectangular or trapezoidal shape (Hünenbett), or a stone circle (Bannkreis). Sometimes, large singular "guardian stones" (Wächterstein, Bautastein) were placed adjacent to these shapes. The interior of the dolmen was usually divided into small compartments by slabs of red sandstone, standing upright. (Wikipedia)

French investigators, have uncovered many line networks involving the main Cathedrals and places of interest…. perhaps the most astonishing of the French line networks is one centred on the tiny village of Alaise nestled in the foothills of the Jura mountains of eastern France.

After devoted study by Xavier Guichard this tiny French village was found to be at the centre of a line system that radiated out to include dozens of sites, villages and towns of a similar name through many neighbouring countries over distances that spanned an area of many thousands of square miles. Yet perhaps the most astonishing thing of all was the realisation that this line system must have been initiated and planned thousands of years ago.

For many the geometric perfection of ley lines, the distances involved, in addition to the very remote period of their inception hints at a totally different view of the ancient world. In particular it shows the ancients were capable of a masterful degree of geodetic knowledge enabling them to accurately build sites in full alignment, even over hundreds of miles.

Xavier Guichard was a high-ranking police officer in Paris, Vice-President of the Prehistoric Society of France and one of the French investigators of ley lines theory.  He detected many of them in France. One of the most famous of the French ley lines networks is situated in the small French village of Alaise in the vicinity of the Jura Mountains in the eastern part of France.  Xavier Guichard found that the village of Alaise lies exactly at the center of a system of lines of longitude and latitude.

These lines, centred on Alaise, connect towns, villages and special places of a similar name in France and other countries.  Guichard realized that the system must have been planned thousands of years ago.  Guichard wrote a book about his discoveries.  It was entitled “Eleusis-Alesi” but only 500 copies were printed in 1936.  The book was a study on the origins of European civilization.

Lines, centred on Alaise village

Guichard’s conclusions: “…all places that were called Alesia (or a name closely related), had been given this name in prehistoric times. Not a single place had been given such a name in more recent times. He believed that this name was derived from an Indo-European root, meaning “a meeting point to where people travelled”.  The majority of these sites could be found in France, where there were more than 400.  But, as mentioned, the name occurred as far away as Greece and Egypt, and also in Poland and Spain.  Guichard was unable to find such names in Britain, which suggests that these cities might go back to the time of the last Ice Age, when Britain was covered with thick sheets of ice.  Guichard himself spoke of “prehistoric” centres...”

He discovered they had two characteristic features: they were on hills overlooking rivers and were built around a man-made well of salt or mineral water.  He also believed that all the sites lay on lines radiating like the spokes of a wheel from the town of Alaise, about 40 kilometers to the south-east of Besançon, France. To him this suggested a carefully constructed design that would have required a mastery of both astronomy and planning. Indeed, he believed the system was not only prehistoric, but actually dated from the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. He based this conclusion on the observation that place names with these derivations ceased to occur in locations (latitudes) that had been covered by ice during the last Ice Age.

Guichard believed that 24 lines, equally spaced radiating lines, plus four lines based on the sunrise/sunset at the two equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices, touched every site.  This was a total of28 lines, which could have a lunar connection. Intriguingly, a play of numbers, starting from 28 (which is two times 14, a number connected to dying gods such as Osiris and Jesus), gives numbers like 56, 64 and 72, all of them featuring prominently in sites such as Stonehenge, the megalithic civilization and other mythology.  Of course, we can do a lot with numbers (which is, after all, what they were designed for in the first place), but it is interesting that certain key numbers keep coming back.  Particularly, these numbers always have direct astronomical significance.”[1]

[1] Citation from Philip Coppens’ lecture.  Internet:

It is possible to see that the French Meridian, which passes both the northerly and southerly points of France, also passes through Paris at the correct latitude for the summer and winter solstice sunrises and sunsets to occur at 52� off True North/South (A phenomena which is captured along the 'Champs de Lysee' (Tr. 'Elysian Fields'), which is orientated along the path of the rising summer solstice sun and the setting winter solstice sun.

The Paris Meridian sits exactly 1� 09�  east of the Greenwich Meridian (the same distance of separation as between the official eastern and western borders of ancient Egypt).

Alaisian Longitudinal lines.

Alaisian Latitudinal lines.

Many readers of this material, including Francis Hitching (Hitching, 1978), have seen a similarity between Guichard’s place-name derivations based on Alesia; and the English word ‘ley’, which Alfred Watkins (Watkins, 1925) had used to define the lines that went across the English countryside, joining up sacred places and key features in the landscape. Hitching concluded that fundamentally, both Alfred Watkins and Xavier Guichard were in agreement. They believed the ancient sites of early man did not happen by chance, but were placed carefully in a developing pattern. (Carol Ann,

Ancient Paths by Graham Robb.

Major Ley lines of Britain.

Map of Ley lines in the UK.

Belinus Ley line.

Map detailing the convergence of ley lines at Glastonbury, UK.

(Angmar Illustration)

Ley lines map of England and Wales.

The question is, when were Ley Lines made? Exactly how old the original straight paths were is a matter of debate. We can read of ley-lines connecting offshore beneath the English channel (1), upon which basis, Behrand concluded that these particular leys must have been marked out between 7,000 BC and 6,000 BC.

We know that the European landscape was significantly redesigned using geometric principles in the middle ages by the Cathars, Knights Templar and the Holy church of Rome. We also know that a large number of the great Cathedrals Churches and Holy sites were built over earlier pre-existing pagan sites and constructions (Xewkija, Knowlton, Rudstone etc) The re-use of ancient sites can even be seen to extend back to pre-historic times such as the re-use of several large menhirs as capstones for passage-mounds in the  region. It is this simple fact, combined with the observation that these same megalithic structures are invariably found to be the ley-points along which such lines are determined, that places the origin of ley-lines into the prehistoric past. (It by no means follows that all megalithic sites were placed on ley-lines).

It is not uncommon to find the terms 'ley-lines' and 'roman roads' in the same context, but it is important to draw a distinction between the two, as there is absolutely no pre-requisite for a ley-line to include roads, pathways, or any visible connection between ley-points of any kind whatsoever. It is the case however, that some ley-lines have been identified along which ancient paths or roads follow (or run alongside), and it is perhaps worth first considering the origin of these ancient tracks, and their connection with ley-lines.

In the first place, many of the long straight roads of Britain have been classified incorrectly as 'Roman Roads'. A fact that can be proven through their existence in Ireland, as noted by J. Michell, who pointed out that '...these same roads exist in Ireland, a country which never suffered Roman occupation..', then also noted the fact that '...beneath the Roman surfaces of the Fosse Way, Ermine Street and Watling Street excavators have uncovered the paving stones of earlier roads, at least as well drained and levelled as those which succeeded them'.

The same observation was made in other parts of Europe by the Romans themselves, who in their conquest of the Etruscans, noted standing stones set in linear patterns over the entire countryside of Tuscany. Romans also record discovering these 'straight tracks' in almost every country they subjugated: across Europe, North Africa, Crete, and the regions of ancient Babylon and Nineveh. Fairly conclusive then - the roads existed before the Romans. In fact, considering the scale of development in the Neolithic period approx 5,000 - 3,000 B.C. it is quite likely that they (or the first, or some at least), existed at that time too, if only to connect sites. )

(Nick Woolley Photo)

Castlerigg Stone Circle, situated on a prominent hill to the east of Keswick, in the Lake District National Park, North West England. It is one of around 1,300 stone circles in the British Isles and Brittany, constructed as a part of a megalithic tradition that lasted from approximately 3,200 BC to 2500 BC, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages.

(Stephen Horncastle Photo)

The Rudston Monolith at over 25 feet (7.6 m) is the tallest megalith (standing stone) in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

(Paul Allison Photo)

The Penrhos Feilw Standing Stones are a pair of standing stones on Holy Island west of Anglesey in north-west Wales. They are thought to date from the Bronze Age but their origins and purpose are unclear. They are about 3 m (10 ft) high and are a similar distance apart.

(Derek Harper Photo)

Mitchell's Fold is a Bronze Age stone circle in southwest Shropshire, located near the small village of White Grit on dry heathland at the southwest end of Stapeley Hill in the civil parish of Chirbury with Brompton, at a height of 1083 ft (330m) o.d.

(Brian Robert Marshall Photo)

The Rollright Stones are a complex of three Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monuments near the village of Long Compton, on the borders of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. Constructed from local oolitic limestone, the three monuments, now known as the King's Men and the Whispering Knights in Oxfordshire and the King Stone in Warwickshire, are distinct in their design and purpose. They were built at different periods in late prehistory. During the period when the three monuments were erected, there was a continuous tradition of ritual behaviour on sacred ground, from the 4th to the 2nd millennium BCE.

(Alan Simpkins Photo)

The Longstones are two standing stones, one of which is the remains of a prehistoric 'cove' of standing stones, close to Beckhampton in Avebury parish, in the English county of Wiltshire.

Withypool Stone Circle is a stone circle located near to the village of Withypool in the south-western English county of Somerset. It is found within Exmoor. The Withypool ring is part of a tradition of stone circle construction that spread throughout much of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, over a period between 3,300 and 900 BCE. The purpose of such monuments is unknown, although archaeologists speculate that they were likely religious sites, with the stones perhaps having supernatural associations for those who built the circles.

(Mark McGaughey Photo)

Beltany is a Bronze Age stone circle just south of Raphoe town in County Donegal, Ireland. It dates from circa 2100-700 BC. There is evidence that it may also have been the sacred site of Neolithic monuments, possibly early passage tombs. It overlooks the now destroyed passage tomb complex at Kilmonaster and Beltany is dominated by Croghan Hill to the east on the summit of which there sits a Neolithic mound most likely a passage tomb (though never excavated).

Today Beltany has 64 stones of varying height and width enclosing an earthen platform. The centre is greatly disturbed and most likely was the result of digging by locals in 1700s for available loose stones to build farmsteads and field boundaries. This evidence was given orally to the Ordnance Survey field officers in 1830s which is written into the OS records. It states that locals recalled the removal of vast heaps of stone and sepulchral type graves with bones. The boulder wall close to the circle may support this evidence and the mention in OS early maps of ‘Tops Village’ at the foot of the hill. The enigmatic Stone Circle is situated on the summit of Tops Hill, the anglicized Gaelic word meaning ‘the lighting of a ceremonial torch’. Several stones are cupmarked. One in particular, the triangle stone on NE is decorated with circular incisions or cup marks visible to naked eye. Other stones have what appears to be replicated star constellations. The heavy stones on NW lean outwards possibly from pressure of the earlier debris and boulders removed in 1700s or due to depletion of earthen bank.

This was a ritual site associated with marking the agricultural Celtic year – the summer and winter Solstices and Equinox. The Celtic Ritual Year was in 4 parts – Beltaine (May), Samhain (November) the main parts and Imbolg (February) and Lughnasa (August). Beltany may be linked to marking both sunrise and sunset at these important ritual and ceremonial events in the year. It may also have a lunar orientation, yet to be calculated.

A single ‘outlier’ stone about 2 metres high stands to the southeast of the circle. It probably had some function related to the rituals or ceremonies in the circle. Or it may be one of the several line standing stones found in fields around the slopes of Tops hill and valley.

A carved stone head (flat to back) is believed to have come from lands around Beltany and thought to have functioned as either a mask or a mould from which ceremonial masks were fashioned in bronze or even gold. It is in the vaults at the National Museum in Dublin. These megaliths indicate that this landscape was marked out and used as a sacred and ritual site for several millennia.

(Eugene Birchall Photo)

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill of clay and Blue Lias near Glastonbury in the English county of Somerset, rising to an elevation of 518 feet (158 m). The remains of the roofless St Michael's Tower stand at the top. The sides of the Tor have seven deep, roughly symmetrical terraces, or lynchets. Although their formation remains a mystery, it is possible that the terraces are the remains of a medieval "spiral walkway" created for pilgrims to reach the church on the summit. Another suggestion is that the terraces are the remains of a three-dimensional labyrinth, a design found all over the Neolithic world, can be easily transposed onto the Tor so that by walking around the terraces a person eventually reaches the top in the same pattern. A labyrinth would very likely place the terraces in the Neolithic era.

The Tor is mentioned in Celtic mythology, particularly in myths linked to King Arthur, and has several other enduring mythological and spiritual associations. The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Artefacts from human visitation have been found, dating from the Iron Age to Roman eras. Several buildings were constructed on the summit during the Saxon and early medieval periods; they have been interpreted as an early church and monks' hermitage. The head of a wheel cross dating from the 10th or 11th century has been recovered. The original wooden St Michael's Church was destroyed by an earthquake on 11 September 1275.

(Rodw Photo)

The stone Church of St Michael was built on the site in the 14th century. St Michael's Church survived until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 when, except for the tower, it was demolished. Its tower remains, although it has been restored and partially rebuilt several times. There are many myths and legends associated with the Tor. It has been linked to Avalon and also with King Arthur, since the alleged discovery of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere's neatly labeled coffins in 1191.

Glastonbury Zodiac

The Glastonbury Zodiac may be the most remarkable ancient earthen work in Great Britain. This great landscape configuration is comprised of a circle 10 miles across and 30 miles in circumference formed by hills, roads, and rivers that can only be seen in its entirety from high above.  Discovered in1927 by Katherine Maltwood, the figures are representations of constellations in the heavens moulded into the fabric of the land. Here giant mythological archetypes depict the Grail Quest. Like the Twelve Giants, the Round Table has twelve places. Even the land around Glastonbury has been known for centuries as the Twelve Hides (given to Joseph of Arimathea the uncle of Jesus, when he arrived here with the Holy Grail).

This vast complex encompasses Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Hill in the sign of Aquarius (Phoenix), Wearyall Hill in Pisces, and so forth, as it weaves round the Isle of Avalon. Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, and the Knights are still remembered in the signs of the Giant Zodiac.

Maltwood believed the Zodiac was constructed sometime around 2700 BCE, but earlier dates of 7000 BCE relating to Egypt’s Dendarah Zodiac, have also been suggested. (Internet:

5,000-year-oldsun calendar in southern Alberta

Bob Weber

           EDMONTON – An academic maverick is challenging conventional wisdom on Canada’s prehistory by claiming an archeological site in southern Alberta is really a vast, open-air sun temple with a precise 5,000-year-old calendar predating England’s Stonehenge and Egypt’s pyramids.

           Mainstream archeologists consider the rock-encircled cairn to be just another medicine wheel left behind by early aboriginals. But a new book by retired University of Alberta professor Gordon Freeman says it is in fact the centre of a26-square-kilometre stone ``lacework” that marks the changing seasons and the phases of the moon with greater accuracy than our current calendar.

           “Geniusexisted on the prairies 5,000 years ago,” says Freeman, the widely publishedformer head of the university’s physical and theoretical chemistry department.

Freeman’s fascination with prairie prehistory dates back tohis Saskatchewanboyhood. He and his father would comb the short grasses of the plains in searchof artifacts exposed by the scouring wind. That curiosity never left him and hereturned to it as he prepared to retire from active teaching.

           Looking fora hobby, he asked a friend with an interest in history to suggest a fewintriguing sites to visit. On a warm late-August day in 1980, that list drewhim to what he has come to call Canada’s Stonehenge,which is also the title of his book.

A central cairn atop one of a series of low hillsoverlooking the Bow River, about 70 kilometres east of Calgary, had been partially excavated in 1971and dated at about 5,000 years old. But as he approached it, Freeman stronglyfelt there was much more there than previously thought.

           “As wewalked toward the hilltop, I saw all kinds of patterns in the rocks on the wayup. As I walked around the hilltop, I could see patterns that I doubted verymuch were accidental.”

           Freeman photographed what he saw and showed the images to archeologists. They told him the rocks, some of which weigh up to a tonne, had been randomly distributed by melting glaciers.

           But those rocks and rock piles, Freeman said, had been “highly engineered,” shimmied and balanced and wedged in ways he couldn’t believe were natural. And so began a magnificent obsession – 28 years of photographing the site in summer and winter, observing the alignment of rocks and how they coincided with the recurring patterns of sun, moon and stars.

           Freeman estimates he and his wife Phyllis have spent a total of seven months living atthe site. Twelve thousand photographs with precise times and dates are neatly catalogued in his files.

           What he found:

           The central cairn is surrounded by 28 radiating stone lines, four of which align with the cardinal points of the compass. Those lines are encircled by another ring of stones.

           A fewmetres away lies a stone semicircle, with a large stone between it and thecentral cairn. The left edge of the semicircle lines up with both the centralstone and the right edge of the cairn, and vice versa.

           To Freeman,those features represent the sun, the crescent moon and the morning star.  As well, there are secondary cairns on nearby hills androck assemblages that seem to correspond to constellations.

           And afteryears of rising before dawn, in all seasons and weather, to carefullyphotograph the positions of the sun, Freeman found the rocks once thought to besimply strewn across the prairie instead mark the progression of the year withuncanny accuracy.

The rising and setting sun on both the longest and shortest daysof the year lines up precisely with V-shaped sights in the temple’s rocks. Thespring and autumn equinoxes, when day and night are equal, are similarlymarked. They are not the equinoxes of the Gregorian calendar currently used,however, but the true astronomical equinoxes.
           Freeman is convinced thetemple contains a lunar calendar as well, because the 28 rays radiating from the central cairn correspond to the length of the lunar cycle.
           “I thought I would complete that study in a couple years,” says Freeman, a laughing, vigorous 78. “Twenty-eight years later we’re still making discoveries.”
           Mainstream archeology hasn’t been exactly welcoming. Despite being highly regarded in his own field, Freeman says journals have rejected his papers and conferences have denied him a platform.
           Professionals in any fieldresist interlopers from other disciplines and archeology is no exception, hesays. But he suggests conventional wisdom can restrict insight.
           “If you have preconceptions,you’re never going to discover anything.”
           Although he hasn’t read “Canada’sStonehenge,” University of Alberta archeologistJack Ives is familiar with Freeman’s theories.
           He says recent researchsuggests some astronomical knowledge developed in Central and South America flowed north to the plains, where it was adapted by peoplefor their own purposes.
           “There is some basis forthinking there was sophisticated astronomical knowledge,” says Ives.
           But what exactly is manifestedin the medicine wheels?
           “They may certainly reflectsolstices and equinoxes. How much more sophisticated beyond that has been asubject of debate.”
           But Ives points out theterrain in question is an ancient glacial moraine, full of naturally occurringrocks.
           “You have to be very carefulabout what you line up.”
           Freeman, however, isconvinced. He looks forward to the academic debate to come.
           “I know my song well before Ising it,” he says, quoting Bob Dylan.
           Meanwhile, Freeman hopes touse any publicity generated by his book to push for preservation of the site.Part of it is privately owned, but most is Crown land and open to both theenergy industry and casual, possibly destructive, visitors.
           “The place is so far away fromanything that it’s not adequately protected.”
           Freeman is a man of science,trained to trust hard data and believe evidence over sensation. But after 28years unravelling a message in mute stones, the wind in his hair and the sun onhis face, absorbed in ancient mysteries, the site has come to evoke in himsomething akin to reverence.
           “I can go down there with aheadache and within a day everything is gone. It’s just like a cure. There issomething down there. I just don’t know how to describe it.
           “I just feel very comfortablethere. I just feel comfortable.”

Ley lines are found around the world. This is a Map of Ley lines on the Great Lakes in North America.