Jump to content
Science Forums

Mathmatical/geological/astronomical Alignments

Recommended Posts

For the purpose of my book, I need to find a reason for the placement of the white horses on Salisbury plain.

Thanks for introducing me to these geoglyphs, writingmum! :thumbs_up :) What I find most cool about them is that they're not, with some exception, ruins, but monuments requiring regular upkeep. The idea of a community maintaining a big outdoor artwork for hundreds, or even thousands of years, fills me with a sense of belonging, even though I live almost 1/4th of the way around the globe from them, in a neighborhood that didn't exist 60 years ago, in a nation where only a few families have lived more than a couple of centuries, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, a place devoid to the best of my reconnoitering of a hill worthy of a big geoglyph – though viewed from above, the planned layout of Washington DC has lots of well-developed conspiracy theories about the figures formed by its various building and monuments. (eg:

, from a random conspiracy theory website, freemasonrywatch.org), even inspiring a few rather cheesy movies (eg: Nick Cage’s 2004 National Treasure)


Speaking of Masons ...

I'm thinking along the lines...the men who were responsible for making the horses were masons or a group of men in some other society, maybe even religious...

Various Masonic lodges (more or less civic clubs, but with more mystery and heritage than most) are traditional recipients of the credit/blame for various mysterious constructions, but unlike our national monuments (which were openly designed, built and dedicated by less and more famous Mason), some of your white horses are much too old for their original construction to have had any Masons involved. Uffington, for example, is believed to have been built about 3,000 years ago. The oldest Masonic lodges, guilds of actual stoneworkers, date back no further than about 600 years ago, and didn’t really gain their modern, mystical/ceremonial character until about 300 years ago.


Some pretty interesting Bronze age folk are likely behind the oldest white horses and other geoglyphs, but to learn much about them, you’ll have to dig pretty deep into prehistory, and use a lot of imagination.


Some of the newer ones, like Pewsey, dated at around 1785, are much more modern, and might have had some Masons behind them – but I doubt there’s much of a connection between Masonic ritual and white horses.

Triangle A (30o,60o,90o)

Broad town, Hackpen, Ham Hill

Ham Hill, TAn hill, Old devizes

Old Devizes, Broad town


Triangle B (30o,60o,90o)

Uffington, Ham Hill

Ham Hil, New Pewsey*, Westbury

Westbury, New Devizes, Rockley, Uffington


Triangle C (30o,60o,90o)

Cherhill, Marlborough

Marlborough, Alton Barnes

Alton Barnes, Cherhill

You've found some pretty neat figures in these visible, ruined, and lost white horses geoglyphs (I'm not sure if all of them are agreed to actually be horses, or if there's not a dragon or some other animal or two mixed in) I’ve marked up you original sketch with them (and one of my own):


Mine – let’s call it triangle D - is formed by Broad Town, Tan Hill, and New Devises.


If you measure them carefully (I did just by counting the pixels in the map image you posted), you’ll find they aren’t precisely (or in the case of triangle C, even close to) 30° 60° 90° triangles. Here are my angle measurements, rounded to the nearest 0.01°


Triangle A: 30.52° 62.07° 87.41° (sum of square error: 3.36°)

Triangle B: 27.81° 62.72° 90.54° (SSE 3.53°)

Triangle C: 50.67° 52.67° 83.34° (SSE 22.92°)

Triangle D: 32.23° 58.93° 88.84° (SSE 2.73°)


It’d take a lot more work than the quick measuring ad simple calculations I used to get the above, both map checking and math, to give any sort of statistical likehood that these figures are intentional or due to chance. My guess is that they’re not intentional.


I think to understand why white horses and other hill geoglyphs are placed where they are, you need to look at the local terrain. These drawings are visible from the ground, usually looking from a population center across an open valley. My guess is that this view dictated their placement to their original makers.


To understand the significance of them, I think you have to try to put yourself in the head of the people who first made and encountered them. Imagine being a bronze age (about 1,000 BC) traveler – perhaps a military scout sent by your local king to see what nearby’s ripe for pressuring or conquest, and cresting a hill to see the white horse at Uffington. I imagine being awed – and turning right around to report that we’d better not mess with whoever lives this way. I might conclude they have something supernatural on their side, but even if I think they’re just ordinary folk, I can see they’re good at organized work, and have serviceable tools, so are likely good at organizing into war parties with effective weapons and armor.


Imagine being a bronze age person who made the white horse. I imagine this person feeling pretty proud, powerful, and secure – though perhaps a bit tired.


Imagine being the bronze age person who’s idea it was, and/or who organized – though persuasion or intimidation – its making. I imagine this person feeling like king of the world.


IMHO, that’s were the real story is. Faeries and other fantastic elements can fit in OK, but the core of this story – or nearly any story, fictional or real – is about the human emotions that attended the events behind monuments, battlefields, and other remnants of humankind and nature.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re attached. I want to find out the height of my pyramid based on these measurements.

Would some kind soul work it out for me please?

You appear to be using your found triangles as horizontal cross sections. The height, then, can be anything you want it to be.


If you want some collection of triangles to define a tetrahedron (triangular cross-sectioned pyramid), at least one of vertexes must correspond to each of the tetrahedron’s 4 vertexes, or you have to specify some rule to determine it.


You might try the rule that its largest side must be a perfect 30-60-90 triangle elevated at a 60° angle. In this case, its height would be 3/4 times the length of this triangles shortest side – about 8.9 miles (about 47,000 feet or 14,300 m).


That would make it by far the highest point on Earth, dwarfing the summit of Chomolungma/Everest at 8,848 m, and nearly 100 times the height of the square-based Great Pyramid of Giza. A high-performance biz jet would be able to overfly it, but most commercial airliners would not.


It would be as tall as Olympus Mons on Mars, which is about 21,000 m above what passes for sea level on Mars.


Another rule could be to pick a volume, and calculate its height from that. To get a sense of this, consider that if you excavated all of Ireland down to a bit below sea level, you’d get about enough material to make about 2 of these pyramids.


PS: I’ve had a lot of fun learning about white horses and other geoglyphs, and have piled up lots of references and musings about them, including some background on the debate as to whether the Uffington one is – that is, was intended by its bronze age makers to represent - a horse or some other animal. The late Olaf Swarbrick’s suggestion that it should be called “the wolf hound of Uffington” (see this 13 Oct 2010 BBC News article and many other), which at first glance looking like silly old retired academic fluff story stuff, actually struck me as pretty astute, especially the part about whatever-it-is’s tail being much too long for a horse, even a highly stylized one, but not for the sorts of hounds the prehistoric folk who made it had. The Uffington white horse is so old – about 3,000 years – it’s hard to guess with any certainty what the people who made it were thinking. Unlike their Mediterranean contemporaries, these folk didn’t have writing, and their unwritten history seems washed away by waves of invasions and colonization.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...