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15 14 aStronomy geometry a prehistoric culture of circle builders In 1973 Alexander Thom undertook the first accurate survey of Stonehenge see frontispiece. Previously having surveyed over 500 stone circles, he had established that a unit of length of 2.72 feet 0.829m had been used by the builders, which he called the Megalithic yard. Stonehenge further confirmed this unit. A third of Thoms surveyed stone circles were actually not circles at all, and their geometry derives from Pythagorean triangles, often in whole numbers of Megalithic yards. Some examples are shown here note how often the key points are marked by a stone. Some circles, such as Castle Rigg, have their geometry aligned to key astronomical rising and setting positions of Sun, Moon and stars, as does Stonehenge. Horizon landscape features were often skillfully incorporated. Ancient astronomers were using Pythagorean geometry with a rope and peg technology 2000 years before Pythagoras was born Recently a Type I Egg was discovered at Nabta, in the Sudan. It has been dated at 4500 BC, the earliest known example of its type, and sited well away from the previously held boundaries of megalithic circle builders.
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