Stonehenge Unhinged: A Review

by AHanna on July 17, 2013

SH Unhinged

What do you get when you combine an estimated 140 free-standing stones, 115 pits, 64 wooden posts, 35 dressed trilithons, 2 entrances, 1 bank, 1 ditch, 1 avenue, and assorted graves from various ancient time periods?

You get a heck of a lot of puzzle pieces.

What do you do with all those puzzle pieces?

If you’re long-time Eternal Idol contributor Dan Johnston and his brother Mike, you snugly fit together one heck of a megalithic-sized puzzle, with the result that, as they proclaim in the preface to their new book Stonehenge Unhinged The Wheel of the Sun, “the doors guarding the ancient mystery of Stonehenge are blown open and the light of reason is allowed to stream into its dark interior.”

And it is the light of reason that guides the reader through a detailed examination of the puzzle. The result of 30 or so years of study, research and investigation, Mike and Dan use science and mathematics to show where each piece fits into the larger whole and what its likely function in that position was. All of the pieces of the puzzle have an explanation and none are left out.




Not all of the structures at Stonehenge were built at the same time, nor were they all in use at the same time, yet the authors demonstrate that, no matter when it was in use, every component in the complex was intentionally positioned to align with the rising and setting of both the sun and moon at significant times over the course of not just a single year, but many years. This enabled the Stone Age people who utilized it not only to anticipate the solstices and equinoxes, but also track the cycles of the moon and predict both solar and lunar eclipses.

Which then, of course, raises the question: Why? Why expend so much time and manpower to construct such an enormous, sophisticated multipurpose solar/lunar calculator-calendar-computer?

The answer isn’t likely to be “42,” but it could very well be 13, 28 or 56. The Johnstons don’t claim to have the answer, yet they do convincingly present evidence for the configuration of stones, posts, and pits being based on the numbers 13, 28 and 56, making it possible not only to figure out the number of days between astronomical events, but also between the agricultural feast days that we now know as Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasad. In addition to this, they suggest that these numbers and their calendrical significance might be represented on a couple of well-known artefacts found in barrows in the greater Stonehenge landscape, as well as possibly surviving in some modern systems of measurement still used in parts of the British Isles.

Written in a straightforward yet engaging, friendly style, and illustrated with easy-to-understand diagrams and charts, Stonehenge Unhinged The Wheel of the Sun makes no claims about Stonehenge that can’t be supported with scientific and/or mathematical calculations, and when the authors do speculate, they only do so if they can frame their speculation on a foundation of established fact or the soundest information available. Their findings build on what we already know about Stonehenge but challenge us to reconsider both preconceived ideas and previously dismissed theories about the people who designed and built it. Just as the recent discovery of the “world’s oldest lunar calendar” in Scotland, estimated to be about 10,000 years old, has forced archaeologists to rethink the ability of Stone Age people to calculate and measure time, Mike and Dan Johnston force us to do the same, but take it one step further by not simply suggesting it could have been done, but showing us how it was done.

I’ve only touched on a few of the fascinating ways that the puzzle pieces fit so neatly together. There is much more to discover and be excited about in the pages of this book, some of which, in retrospect, seems almost too obvious not to have been spotted in plain sight by all. I can honestly say that this was one work of non-fiction that I had a hard time putting down and, as it’s written on a topic that’s near and dear to me, I highly recommend it to everyone with even a passing curiosity about the puzzle that is Stonehenge.

Stonehenge Unhinged The Wheel of the Sun can be ordered here in ebook format from Amazon.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan July 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

Mike and Dan Johnston force us to do the same, but take it one step further by not simply suggesting it could have been done, but showing us how it was done.

Wow! Is there an introductory website so that people can get a feel for what’s being said before buying?

Neil Wiseman July 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

There is a pre-view on the Amazon site with enough info to proceed.
Currently in Kindle, I am downloading it in a few minutes.
Looks good.

JohnWitts July 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm

No price information? What I have seen on the clips I like and that is nice nice clear diagrams which helps us more simple “folks”. Now I have “kindle” on the PC (Jonathon provoked that) I will download (but only after I have come to terms with Jonathan’s second section)

Jonathan September 7, 2013 at 5:28 am

Hi Dan

Sorry it’s take a while to get round to it, but I enjoyed the book

You’ve referred to the eight indicator holes marking the astronomical calendar days on the fifty six hole Aubrey Circle (I found this twice in the book). But I couldn’t find a reference saying what the eight indicators were. If I’ve got it right, these generate the odds of 367,290: 1.

Any chance of expanding on this a bit?

Aynslie September 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Jonathan — Both the text and the illustrations in Dan’s book make the 8 significant holes quite clear. Check again.

ND Wiseman September 8, 2013 at 4:27 am

Hi Dan!
I’m down to the last ’15%’ (ala Kindle), but here’s what I think so far.

Things I agree with:

1. The Moon was considered Female — I like to think of her as a somewhat wayward sister to the Sun.
2. The Moon oversaw Death and was quite a bit more important to them than has previously been acknowledged.
3. The numbers: 7, 14, 28, and 56 are indeed related to the Moon.
4. Britain was ‘Hyperborea’.
5. A component of the Station Stones’ importance was related to the Moon.
6. As we discussed previously, I have always ‘wanted’ there to have been 28 Bluestones in the Horseshoe. I believe this was true at the West Amesbury Henge as well.
7. I believe there were 56 Bluestones in the outer Circle.
8. Misty legends and scraps of language could well have been passed through the Ages to a later time.
9. Your math and probabilities are impeccable.
10. The detonation of Isla Santorini in ~1628 BC brought the entire Culture to its knees in a remarkably short time.

I have written a great deal on many of these very points, and am gratified to learn that I’m not the only one!

Things I disagree with:

1. Stonehenge was not solely about the Moon, but elegantly included a number of other beliefs and observations. (The ingenious Lunar Calendar is certainly among these.)
2. Though I liked your ’29 and a half’ feature of the Sarsen Circle, I believe that the Stone Ring actually represented Earth as the exact center of the Cosmos as they understood it. (Also, S-11 is purposely slender, but is also broken along its height — not intentionally stumpy.)
3. The Trilithon Set represents the Womb of Mother Earth. The nearly constant themes of Fertility within the record emphasize this. Solstice to Vernal Equinox is 9 months. In one example, notice the 6-month pregnant Stone-16 as Earth-Wife bidding farewell to her Sun-Husband at Winter Solstice; proudly displaying her bounty.
4. The Avenue did not exist when the 4 Posts were placed, nor did it when the off-set Heelstone was moved from the S-97 position.
5. Though East was the all-important cardinal, little mention is made of the other three. All 4 played key roles and represented other cultural beliefs that are unrelated to the Moon.
6. Initially, North was determined by the very imprecise position of Thuban. Only later was this corrected, then codified by the plausible method you mention. The Southern Entrance, the overcut of the east Ditch and Bank, and the fact that no Aubrey falls under a Cardinal, all indicate errors that couldn’t be corrected later. Tweak all these attributes 2.5 degrees clockwise and everything falls into place.
7. For the above reasons the Post ‘Corridor’ was positioned to the pre-existing Southern Entrance by circumstance — not choice.
8. The Southern Entrance was (in my opinion) really an Exit.
9. In your well-researched view the Druids memorized by rote, inferring that those that came before also did. A small difference perhaps, but I believe the Builders’ elite sang their stories and information. Every social facet of the Culture had their own songs to insure continuity within their ‘caste’, for lack of a better term. Then everyone got together at Party Time and sang many of the Old Favorites. An example of this is that today we have many places where certain drinking songs are popular, but no one else has heard — but everybody knows the words to the National Anthem.
10. I’m pretty sure that the 30th Z-Hole is under the remnant of Stone-8.

I really like(d) the book and am looking forward to reading it again!
Best wishes,

Jonathan September 8, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thanks Aynslie

I have read the book, but wanted to be sure because this appears to be critical to the whole argument. Sometimes, getting comment can lead to an understanding of how other people view what you have said?

DanJ September 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Neil and Jon

The beauty of Stonehenge, and the attraction of EI, is that virtually every SH-freak has a different take on what’s left of the monument and how and why it was built. The classic example is that of MPP who goes with death and life and rejects, repeatedly, any real worship of the sun or moon even though when they removed the A344, they found the periglacial stripes that define the SS sunrise-WS sunset and may have been the motivator for locating SH where they did.

Without writing, the only things to fall back on are paltry artifacts, archeological remnants and anthropological proxies (Like MPP’s Madagascar realm of the dead connection). That is why we confined the book to facts as much as possible to avoid getting trapped in the “pet theories that cannot be proven” angst. I can say that I believe Stonehenge is a temple to the Sun and the Moon, with the Moon, represented by the sarsen trilithons and circle, as the dominant factor, at least based on size. The bluestones would thus represent the Sun and are phallic. This makes nothing but sense if you consider the Moon feminine and symbolic of both life and death just as its phases every month recapitulate human existence. In a sense, Stonehenge is the marriage of the sun and moon on earth, an astral coitus in stone, that conveys the opposites that make up existence and how complex their interplay is. As a spiritual expression, there is no basis for rejecting many functions for the monument and it represents all things to all people, as it should.

As an example, Neil’s assertion that they used Thuban as their North Star to locate north inaccurately may well be true as it was the best candidate from about 3900-1900 BC for this role but they had to find the other cardinal directions using some kind of process. The fact that each of the cardinal directions on the Aubrey Circle is located approximately halfway between holes was by design is an equally valid conceit, one I believe to be true.

Along these same lines, Jon’s question about the 8 significant positions on the Aubrey Hole begs the question of what stands out on the circumference of the Aubrey Circle as a circle, by definition, is symmetrical with respect to its center only. The first element of exterior symmetry is the summer solstice sunrise-winter solstice sunset axis of the monument. This is also defined by AH 56 and 28 on the circle. This is the only generally accepted alignment in Neolithic-EBA archeology. If we look for other alignments on the original Aubrey Circle only one jumps out — that for the equinoxes defined by AH 6 and 34. Though these are slightly off because true east lies between holes, an observer standing at the left side of the stone in AH 34 would see the equinoctial sunrise just to the right of the stone in AH 6 at the autumnal equinox. The opposite case would apply for the sunset. This gives two alignments demarcated by 4 stones (or pits) of the Aubrey Circle.

The next element of symmetry added to the circle is the addition of the four station stones. The locations of the stones impose a symmetry on the circle as they lie parallel to its axis and make AH 10-11, 17-18, 38-39 and 45-46 special. When we run a calendar count, this reduces to 10, 18, 38 and 46 being significant with all these significant holes (stones) diametrically opposite each other on the circle. These eight significant positions define a perfectly workable calendar on the circle without imposing too much spin to make it work.

As to the mysteries that are Stonehenge, they’ll never be solved and never decrease — each new discovery adds new dimensions and interpretations to the enigma that is the monument.

Jonathan September 10, 2013 at 7:36 am

Hi Dan

From a statistical point of view, there’s a problem with alignments in a pre-existing group. For example, if I take a bicycle wheel and lay it on the ground (my bike has 36 spokes), I can show that several of the spokes have alignments: But this doesn’t prove that the wheel was intended to have alignments, it just shows what happens with a wheel.

With 56 spokes, you will get more alignments. But having more alignments does not improve the argument for the bike being connected to those alignments: More spokes means more alignments.

Not saying that the argument is wrong, because it may be more complex than what I’ve taken from it. Just that the way it’s been written up will probably lead to an instant dismissal by statisticians: For example, Hawkin’s 1 in a million turned out to be based on incorrect statistical assumptions and would be better described as 50/50 at best.

I had a similar problem: Looking back at my old notes, the product of ‘marginal probabilities’ of each set of features in the stones existing in a such a configuration wholly suitable to be a geocentric demonstrator turned out to be one in four billion. The one in four billion was created by ignoring many of the improbabilities: If they had been included, I would be up in the zillions. So I decided that this was ridiculous and that the stats had to be wrong (I would love to be able to include them, which is why I’ve tried to look over what you’ve done in detail).

Don’t get me wrong on this: I enjoyed the book. But if you have one segment that appears to have problems, it opens up the rest for the same treatment. So, in my opinion, the segment probably should either be deleted or, preferably, significantly expanded.

Aynslie September 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Another review, this one on Tim Daw’s site.

Aynslie October 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

This could have gone with one of Dennis’s posts about druids, especially since he puts forth such rational arguments for Iron Age druidic knowledge being rooted in the Neolithic, but I felt that the specific subject matter tended to support much of what Dan and Mike propose about ancient measurement knowledge and skills in their book. So I put it here. This book is getting a lot of attention in various circles.

JohnWitts October 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I have said before that statistics, chance or whatever you want to call it does not matter. Alignments were either intended or not – it does not matter if this is the result of 50-50 or a 1 in 1,000,000 chance. As I see it once you have a site where a summer winter solstice other alignments are almost bound to arise. Given that is it not better to examine significant alignments which are seemingly not marked or missed out?

Jonathan October 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Hi John

Given that is it not better to examine significant alignments which are seemingly not marked or missed out?

I don’t know. The chances are that the original solstice alignment was intentionally developed: There are some very important early monuments elsewhere which also align. So perhaps we can say that something about some of these alignments was important.

The difficult is knowing whether or not the importance of that alignment is related to the act of observation or whether it is a secondary effect caused by our ancestors doing something else entirely: Statistics could be useful in showing one way or the other whether observation of alignment was the primary aim. That’s why I would like to see Dan and Mike’s book expanded.

In the past, we have had claims for alignments which later have proven to be invalid. Those arguments, which appeared strong at first sight, may well be used to dismiss D and M’s theory if the statistics are not developed.

On the other hand, if the alignment idea is a secondary effect of doing something else, the last fifty years have been spent chasing an idea which will always be nearly there, but will never be quite right. In the meantime, public interest has waned because nothing really new, other than doubt, has been found.

DanJ October 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I tried to explain that the statistics in the book were only secondary to alignments. Apparently, I didn’t do a good enough job. The statistics are based on four points, two marked by stones and two on or nearest to alignments, to determine the odds. Chasing alignments, as such, is an exercise in futility but using an Aubrey Hole on a day count nearest that alignment is a completely different thing. The statistics used looked at the three count points on the circle besides the SS (56) point based on the season lengths back in 2800 BC-they are marked by 6 (AH nearest AE alignment), 10 (AH near SS 91) and and 18 (AH near SS 92). It is remarkable that the AH marking the autumnal equinox happens to lie close to this particular alignment and combining two alignments and two stones for markers fits perfectly with the Neolithic compulsion for balance in their universe.

If I reject AH 6 and the AE as unjustifiable just because of its alignment, the odds reduce from 367290 to 6930:1 but I’ll still take those odds any day.

Jonathan October 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

Thanks Dan
It’s probably just me not getting why it’s statistically significant. Will look at again.
All the best


JohnWitts October 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

So, are there any notable (at least to us) lunar and solar events not represented by alignments at Stonehenge? If there are any then explaining away why they were not of interest may provide an interesting way forward?

JohnWitts October 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm

PS can any other site claim so many authors as this one?

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