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Figure 6.32. Use of the Aubrey holes Stonehenge as a stone age "abacus": It may have involved the use of six stones of alternate kinds (say, black and white, as indicated here by black and gray circles, respectively). Each year, each of the stones would be advanced one hole; the direction of advancement shown here is counterclockwise, but this is not critical if the stones are separated by 10, 9, 9,10, 9, and 9 holes in the direction of rotation. Drawing by E.F. Milone.

Figure 6.32. Use of the Aubrey holes Stonehenge as a stone age "abacus": It may have involved the use of six stones of alternate kinds (say, black and white, as indicated here by black and gray circles, respectively). Each year, each of the stones would be advanced one hole; the direction of advancement shown here is counterclockwise, but this is not critical if the stones are separated by 10, 9, 9,10, 9, and 9 holes in the direction of rotation. Drawing by E.F. Milone.

each of the six stones would be advanced one hole; the direction of advancement adopted here is counterclockwise (as in Hawkins 1965, p. 142), but this is not critical, as he pointed out, as long as the hole intervals between the stones are maintained.

At least three holes have special meaning, because an eclipse danger occurs when a particular type of stone falls in one of these three holes: 51, 56, and 5. The eclipse phenomena would be accompanied by the rise of the full moon over one of three standing stones in the Avenue: the northernmost rise of the major standstill full moon (at 8 ~ +29°) over Stone D, the northernmost rise of the full moon at mid-cycle (8 ~ +24°) over the Heel Stone, and the northernmost rise of the full moon at minor standstill (8 ~ +19°) over Stone F. The example provided by Hawkins (1965, pp. 141ff) starts with a white stone in hole 56, in the Avenue, during a year when the Moon rose over the Heel Stone at its northernmost rising (with 8 ~ +24°) and when solsticial eclipses of Sun and Moon could be seen. A white stone in holes 56, 51, or 5 becomes a marker of an eclipse danger. A black stone in hole 56 will produce the same result. A white stone in holes 5 or 51, however, will mark a danger of equinoctial eclipses. The success of the proposed scheme can be assessed in Table 6.5, which lists the eclipse phenomena for selected dates in the mid-16th century b.c. from data provided by Hawkins (1965, pp. 178-180). Although the dates refer to a time 1000 years after the construction of Stonehenge I, the table may illustrate the continuing predictive power of the site. Alternative schemes are provided by Hoyle (1977) and by Schlosser et al. (1991/1993, p. 15), with various degrees of success. Schemes occasionally break down, and eclipse cycles come to an end (see Robinson 1983). Such failures

Table 6.5.

An example of sequential eclipse datesa at Stonehenge.

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