by Duncan Lunan
The Ecliptic and the Pyramids.
Alan Evans, whose work with me I began describing last week, had a strong intuitive grasp of spatial relationships, and he found another at Stonehenge which he wanted me to verify. Projected north, the alignment of Station Stones 94-91, and 93-92, meets the Arctic Circle at a tangent (Figs 3 & 7). As the Earth turns, when the Ecliptic Pole comes overhead at that tangential point, those stones mark the Ecliptic Meridian passing through Stonehenge. And when that line is projected south, it meets the equator due south of the Egyptian ‘Memphite Necropolis’, containing the great pyramids of Giza. Putting it another way, the Ecliptic meridian through Stonehenge meets the prime meridian of Giza at the equator. And Alan realised this created another extraordinary relationship: at midsummer sunrise at Stonehenge, the one alignment there which even the sceptics recognise, the Vernal Equinox was on the prime meridian at Giza.
That one can’t be verified optically in a planetarium with the same certainty as the galactic alignments described last week, because the tilt of the Earth’s axis to the equator is not constant, varying between 22 and 24 degrees.16 In 2840 BC it was near maximum, and has since declined by over half a degree. None of the planetaria we’ve used could allow for that, but the Stonehenge-Giza relationship is extremely close, even today. I had my calculations confirmed by Paul Benson, then curator of Airdrie Observatory; and more recently Alan had it all done from scratch by Peter Tyler, (of the Positional Services Dept. of GECO-PRAKLA, Oslo, a leading international seismic survey company), who confirmed that around 2700 BC the alignment was close. In his calculations the margin of error was less than one-fifth of a degree; my own put it even closer.
The oldest features of all at Stonehenge lie over the brow of the hill, northwest from the circle. The ‘Car Park Post Holes’ held huge vertical tree trunks or totem poles (possibly for ‘air burials’ on the upturned roots, like the later ‘Seahenge’ on the coast of Norfolk). Radiocarbon dating has them as old as 8000 BC,17 back to the earliest Mesolithic settlers of Britain, not long after the Ice Age; and the site was continually occupied down to the building of Stonehenge as we know it. It was known that the weathering on the Bluestones of Stonehenge II, which were brought from the Prescelly Mountains in Wales, makes them older and perhaps once erected elsewhere; that could have been any time after they were first exposed to the atmosphere around 12,000 BC, and now that the original quarry site has been found, it turns out that the bluestones were indeed first erected as a stone circle on a hilltop in that area,18 moving to Stonehenge c.2900 BC. The ice sheets never covered Stonehenge and Prescelly, even at their greatest extent in 20,000 BC,19 but their aftermath left great gullies at Stonehenge, aligned by chance with midsummer sunrise, which probably inspired the erection of the Car Park Posts, and later the marking out of the Stonehenge Avenue on that bearing once the gullies were filled in by erosion.20
As Alan Evans pointed out, the Ecliptic Meridian passes between the Post Holes, on the line of stones 92-93 (Fig. 3). If there really was a spacecraft, and its attitude sensing platform was relating our ecliptic and celestial co-ordinates to the Galactic ones, and if Galactic alignments determined the latitude of the initial touchdown site, then the ecliptic ones show an intention to go to Egypt afterwards, which determined the longitude and brought it down at the future site of Stonehenge I – which raises the interesting speculation, were the Posts still standing at that time, as if to mark the landing place? Below, we’ll see some reason to think that might have been their intended purpose, at least.
The next question is, are any of the Stonehenge Galactic alignments repeated at the Old Kingdom Egyptian pyramids? The Step Pyramid at Saqqara, whose longitude is one-tenth of a degree east of Giza’s, was the first stone building in the world, created around 2650 BC by the architect Imhotep for the pharaoh Djoser (Fig. 8A). Imhotep changed the design several times during construction, and some archaeologists suggest that he filled in the steps with rubble and faced them with limestone, to give the illusion of a true pyramid.21 (The next two, intended to be true pyramids, were partial failures before the Great Pyramid’s builders got it right.)
And if the Step Pyramid was originally faced in that way, then as nearly as we can measure it, a perpendicular line up the north face met the prime meridian at the declination of the southern intercept between the Galactic equator and the ecliptic, marked I2 in Fig. 3 and Fig. 8B – one of the same alignments we’d found at Stonehenge. But, extraordinary as all this was, we were still a long way from our goal; we knew what we wanted to do next, but it was beyond our financial means. So we withheld publication, until April 1996, when a whole new situation developed.
The Pyramids and the Sphinx.
Archaeoastronomers are in some ways remarkably conservative. Their own ideas about science in ancient society are rejected by many astronomers and most archaeologists; in consequence, they refuse to entertain any more controversial notions, such as a previously unknown civilisation on Earth, or extraterrestrial visitors. I suggested to the 1996 Edinburgh International Science Festival that we organise a seminar on ‘Heresies in Archaeoastronomy’, examining the ideas that were too controversial even for archaeoastronomers to consider. Prof. Archie Roy gallantly agreed to introduce it, and not surprisingly it drew a capacity audience. Naturally, Alan Evans was there to present his paper on the Ecliptic meridian.22
Another participant was Robert Bauval, whose book The Orion Mystery23 suggested that the three giant pyramids of Giza not only incorporated star alignments in their so-called ‘air-shafts’ (Fig. 9), but represented the stars of Orion’s Belt mapped on to the landscape. When Alan Evans checked their findings, he found that the same shaft which marked the meridian transit of Alnitak, the left-hand star of Orion’s Belt, also marked the transit of the Galactic Centre. So of the two Galactic alignments marked at Stonehenge, one was incorporated into the Step Pyramid and the other into the Great one.
By then Robert had collaborated with Graham Hancock on a new book, Keeper of Genesis, based on the possibly great age of the Sphinx. The apparent evidence of water erosion suggested to them that the Sphinx and its flanking temples were built as long ago as 10,500 BC, which they called ‘the First Time’, when Egypt last had a wet climate towards the end of the Ice Age.24 The Vernal Equinox was then in the constellation Leo, and Robert and Graham suggest that the Sphinx was built to face its counterpart in the sky. Furthermore, the orientation of the Belt stars to the Milky Way corresponds to the Pyramids’ in relation to the Nile – not when they themselves were built, but when the Sphinx was carved out 8000 years before.
In 10,500 BC, as far as we know, the Nile delta was inhabited only by hunter-gatherers, wholly lacking the technology to carve out the Sphinx and build its associated temples in 200-ton blocks. In a previous book Graham Hancock tried to get round this by suggesting a world-spanning civilisation, unknown to us, which lasted over 8000 years and was based on the coast of Antarctica.25 It used to be thought that the Antarctic coast was ice-free during the Ice Age in the northern hemisphere; however, that idea had been attacked by the early 1980’s16 and more recent Antarctic surveys continued to stack up evidence against it. And it’s very hard to believe that such a world-spanning, long-lasting civilisation would leave so little evidence behind. More recent research suggests that the erosion features are due to Nile water rising through the porous limestone during the annual floods, making the Sphinx contemporary with the Pyramids;26 but if true, that makes the astronomical features below still more extraordinary.
Graham couldn’t attend the Edinburgh seminar, but he and Robert were both in Glasgow three weeks later and I was able to arrange a continuation, in which we went to the planetarium at the College of Nautical Studies. First I showed them what Alan Evans and I had discovered, and when they saw the Galactic alignment at Stonehenge I, Robert Bauval made an extraordinary remark, which I’ll come back to in a moment.
Then, holding the date c.2700 BC, we shifted to the latitude of Giza, and verified Robert’s calculations for The Orion Mystery. It had never occurred to him to do so in that way, and he was as moved as I had been at seeing the layout of the ancient skies for himself – especially since everything he had calculated was confirmed. So too were the “Keeper” calculations for 10,500 BC, Leo, Orion and the Sphinx, when we moved the setting back to that date. When the Sun rose below Leo at the Vernal Equinox in 10,500 BC, Orion was on the meridian, and the orientation of the Belt stars to the Milky Way matched that of the Giza pyramids to the Nile 8,000 years later. Whatever its significance, that claim is true: we saw it with our own eyes, re-enacted.
But when I had showed the Galactic orientation of Stonehenge I, and explained what it might mean in terms of an ET landing, Robert’s show-stopping remark was, “It’s the same at Giza in 10,500 BC, we just didn’t know what it meant.” Now the time had come to verify that. Once again, if it was true at all, it would be true once a day, every day, at that latitude and date. So, just by letting the stars wheel on, we verified it at once. At Giza, in 10,500 BC, due to the effect of precession, the same Galactic relationship existed as at Stonehenge c.2840. Once a day, the sky took up the same Fig. 6 configuration, with the Galactic pole in the zenith and the plane of the Milky Way coinciding with the horizon. We saw it for ourselves: like a Galactic ‘compass rose’ at each location, but separated by eight millennia in time.
But in that case, what was happening then at Stonehenge?
We kept the date at 10,500 BC, and the custodian took the planetarium ‘back up’ to the latitude of Stonehenge. Having no idea what to look for, once again we just let the stars wheel freely around, through a normal day. And Epsilon Boötis went through the zenith! It was doing that daily in 10,500 BC, when the Galactic alignments were in force at Giza, and the effect of precession on it, over the next 8000 years, was to bring it back to the Stonehenge zenith, as an optical marker for the same Galactic alignments at Stonehenge itself when Stonehenge I was created. Unless it’s multiple coincidence (literally – coincidence multiplied by coincidence, over and over) – it must mean that the events of 2840-2500 BC represented a return to both sites, or that the celestial ‘signposts’ at the three sites were planned long, long ago, far before even the First Time. And the first signposted date of 10,500 BC goes along with the ‘approximately 13,000 years ago’ given by Arcturus’s position in that first map of my 1973 ‘translation’, Fig. 1(A) in last week’s article. If that map meant anything, it would have to be as a time marker, not a navigational reference as I thought.
It still isn’t Category A evidence, the artefact of indisputably extraterrestrial origin, nor the Category B anomaly that leads us to it. In this context, Category C might stand for ‘circumstantial’. But I can’t believe that all those circumstances are coincidental; these multiple high-tech astronomical alignments are, in my opinion, the best evidence for Past Contact ever put forward. The synergistic combination of our research with Bauval and Hancock’s convinced me that we’re on the track of something big, and there was more to come.
Three questions are left to answer:
1. What about the Green Children?
In my obituary of Alan Evans, I mentioned that on an entirely different tack, in the September 1996 Analog I had suggested a possible Past Contact in 12th century England, then developing the argument in my book Children from the Sky.28 The mediaeval mystery of the Green Children of Woolpit had been included by Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1621, and it occurred in the latter half of the 12th century AD, along with the most violent solar activity since the Bronze Age, indicated by aurorae, carbon-14 ratios, tree-rings etc.27 That previous peak was a triple one, between 2700 and 1800 BC, covering the building of Avebury, the Pyramids, Stonehenge II and Stonehenge III. It might be still another coincidence; but it was interesting that it was the case in both historical periods which I’d consider candidates for Contact events. Continuing research into the Green Children story makes it clear that something strange was going on, involving, among others, the Pope, the head of the Knights Templar in England, king Henry II, and the head of his intelligence service.28 As the late John Braithwaite remarked, “If it’s not extraterrestrial Contact, you’ve got the political thriller of all time”. More on this later!
But immediately after returning the proofs for the first draft of this article, it occurred to me that there might be a way to verify a connection, if there was one. I called Alan Evans to discuss it and he asked me for the latitudes and longitudes of the places in the Green Children story, and the following night he called me back to tell that in mediaeval Jerusalem, between the Second Crusade in 1146 and the fall of the city to Saladin in 1187, the sky had exactly the same Galactic orientation as it had at Giza in the First Time, and at Stonehenge I. If that’s still another coincidence, to assess its likelihood we have to multiply its improbability by all the other ‘coincidences’ listed above. Otherwise, we would have to say that the three very different enquiries – into 1920s radio phenomena, into Galactic alignments at ancient sites, and the very human story of the Green Children – were actually three aspects of the same enquiry, with all the remarkable implications that entails.
2. What about the Space Probe?
Optical searches of the Lagrange points in the late 1970’s found nothing, as I said in Part 1. But in April 1995 Dr. Duncan Steel drew attention to the discovery, at Kitt Peak in Arizona, of a most unusual asteroid designated 1991 VG. In December 1991 it passed Earth at a distance of only 485,000 miles. Its diameter was estimated at 9-19 metres, assuming that it was made of one of the more common asteroidal rocks. However, observations at closest approach suggested “strong, rapid brightness variations which can be interpreted as transient specular reflections from the surfaces of a rotating spacecraft”.29
During the space age, 1991 VG would have passed only twice before, in February-March 1975 and in mid-1958 – possibly 1959, if the 1975 approach altered the orbit. Nothing that big was launched in 1958-59, nor in 1975; the European Helios 1 was launched in December 1974, but its carrier’s upper stage did not escape from the Earth into orbit round the Sun. Perhaps, instead, 1991 VG was orbiting Earth then, until it was ‘discovered’ and moved away before anything more serious happened.
When it came back in 2017, there were hopes that a major attempt would be made to look at it. A solar-sail ‘cubesat’ was to have been released, with others, on the first lunar mission of the Space Launch System, and 1991 VG was its target.30 Delays to the programme made that impossible and although the sail is still set to fly, the launch opportunity to 1991 VG has been and gone. Observations of 1991 VG’s passing have confirmed that it was in proximity to the Earth-Moon system in 1975, and briefly captured in 1991, but did not originate from here.31 But that, of course, would only be the case if its circumsolar orbit had not been altered since; and if it was under active control, deliberately withdrawing from the Earth-Moon system after it had been ‘recognised’, then it wouldn’t take much orbital modification to conceal it still more effectively. That part of this extraordinary story may not be over yet.
3. Is there a connection with ’Oumuamua?
While evolving the ideas above,I gave considerable thought to what kind of ‘teaching machine’ might have been put down at Stonehenge I, to induce the builders to put those ‘station stones’ where they did and so mark the Galactic alignments as well, without knowing it. It’s important to remember that Stonehenge was the second-last of the great stone circles to be built in the British Isles, and therefore the builders would already have a detailed knowledge of positional astronomy, in regard to the movements of the Sun and the Moon.
I didn’t publish the resulting speculation, which is pure conjecture, but what I thought of was a faceted, reflective spheroid, capable of functioning internally as a planetarium, and with dedicated facets for navigation which might be colour-coded. Nothing would happen externally when the Galactic alignments were activated, but the facets could throw spots of coloured light on to the bank when the Sun or Moon rose facing them; if they could project light as well, they could do that at any time; and if the sphere was hollow, a whole lightshow could be staged inside to show that those particular directions were significant. When Diodorus of Sicily described ‘the land of the Hyperboreans’, he said they had a spherical temple which marked out the lunar cycle, and from which the Moon appeared much larger and closer to the Earth. ‘Spherical’ is generally taken to mean ‘circular’ or ‘astronomical’, but one does wonder if it was literally true!
In my book of short stories From the Moon to the Stars (2019), I included a factual article about the interstellar object ’Oumuamua,32 including the possibility raised by Prof. Avi Loeb and Shmuel Bialy, that ’Oumuamua may have been an artefact such as solar sail. After reading Prof. Loeb’s book Extraterrestrial33 I was invited by the online journal Concatenation to draft an expanded version of my article, including comments on the book, and in doing so I concluded that to explain all of the reported observations, a more detailed astronautical explanation was needed. I suggested several, and what they had in common was that they all required ’Oumuamua to be under active attitude control, allowing me to suggest a possible mission profile for its pass through the Solar System.34
One of the suggestions was that it might be a spheroid of reflective, hexagonal facets – possibly articulated, so that some of them would present a constant reflective surface area at right-angles to the Sun, and possibly colour-coded, with different functions such as communications and navigation. This is so like the faceted sphere model I imagined for the ‘teaching machine’ at Stonehenge, in size as well as in shape and in some of its functions, that it would be very interesting to find out if it’s a viable model to account for the ’Oumuamua observations, and I’m making more enquiries to try to find out. I’ve just placed a major article with Analog magazine,35 and will give more details here before long.
16. Fred Hoyle, Ice, Hutchinson, 1981.
17. Sean O’Neill, ‘Totem Poles Give Pointer to Siting of Stonehenge’, The Daily Telegraph, 28 June 1996; (anon), ‘The Blick Mead excavations have transformed the understanding of the Stonehenge landscape’, Stonehenge Stone Circle News and Information, online, January 15th, 2017.
18. A. Thom, A.S. Thom and A. Thom, ‘Stonehenge’, Journal for the History of Astronomy, 5, 13, 71-90 (June 1974); Robert Dawson Scott, ‘Silent Power from a Time of the Ancients’, The Daily Telegraph, 10th January 1997; Steven Morris, ‘Archaeologists looking for Stonehenge origins ‘are digging in wrong place’, The Guardian, November 21st, 2013; Alicia McDermott, ‘Monumental Discovery! More of the Stonehenge Origin Story Comes to Light’, Ancient Origins, online, February 1st, 2021.
19. Nigel Hawkes, ‘Stonehenge Dating Dispels Icesheet Theory’, The Times, 5th December 1994.
20. Henry Chapman, Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, ‘Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath?’, Part 3, BBC-2, 20th September 2014; Frances Pryor, Stonehenge, The Story of a Sacred Landscape, op cit (in Part 1).
21. I.E.S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt, Penguin, 1947.
22. A.C. Evans, ‘The Three Dimensional Grid’, paper presented at ‘Heresies in Archaeoastronomy’, Edinburgh International Science Festival, 16th April 1995.
23. Robert Bauval & Adrian Gilbert, The Orion Mystery, Heinemann, 1994.
24. Robert Bauval & Graham Hancock, Keeper of Genesis, Heinemann, 1996.
25. Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods, Heinemann, 1995.
26. Ian Lawton and Chris Ogilvie-Herald, Giza, The Truth, Virgin, 1999.
27. John A. Eddy, ‘The Case of the Missing Sunspots’, Scientific American, 236, 5, 80-88 & 92, May 1977; ‘The Maunder Minimum’, Science, 192, 4245, 1189-1202 (18th June, 1976.)
28. Duncan Lunan, Children from the Sky, a speculative interpretation of a mediaeval mystery – the Green Children of Woolpit, Mutus Liber, May 2012.
29. Duncan Steel, ‘SETA and 1991 VG’, The Observatory, April 1995; ‘Of Asteroids and Aliens’, The Skeptic, 15, 1, 9-10 (1995).
30. (Anon), ‘NASA to Launch Sun-Powered Space Probe’, Sputniknews.com, 6th February 2016; Jennifer Hacket, ‘NASA Announces the Science Experiments That Will Ride on the Most Powerful Rocket Ever: in 2018 the Space Launch System will carry 13 shoebox-size CubeSats into deep space’, Scientific American, April 1st, 2016.
31. C. de la Fuente Marcos, R. de la Fuente Marcos, ‘Dynamical evolution of near-Earth asteroid 1991 VG’, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 473, 3,, Pages 2939–2948, (January 2018).
32. Duncan Lunan, ‘Interstellar Messengers: Preface’, in From the Moon to the Stars, Space-travel stories by Duncan Lunan, Other Side Books, Glasgow, 2019.
33. Avi Loeb, Extraterrestrial, The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, John Murray, 2021.
34. Duncan Lunan, ‘The Solar System’s First Visitor ’Oumuamua revisited’, Concatenation, online, September 2021.
35. Duncan Lunan, ‘’Oumuamua – Astronautical Explanations’, Analog, in press.
Duncan Lunan’s books Children from the Sky, a speculative interpretation of a mediaeval mystery – the Green Children of Woolpit (Mutus Liber, May 2012), and From the Moon to the Stars, Space-travel stories by Duncan Lunan (Other Side Books, Glasgow, 2019) are available from Amazon or through bookshops. For details of these and his other books see Duncan’s website, www.duncanlunan.com.
See also: EPSILON BOÖTIS REVISITED
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