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        Prehistoric Geodesy:  (Greek geōdaisiā : geō - 'earth', daiesthai - 'to divide')

According to the classical definition by Freidrich Robert Helmert (1880), 'Geodesy is the science of the measurement and mapping of the Earth's surface'. (4) Geodesy, along with astronomy and geography are among the oldest sciences dealing with the planet earth.

The Science of Geodesia is commonly attributed to the Greeks, namely Pythagoras (580-500 BC) and his school who were the first Greeks to propose a spherical earth, which by the time of Aristotle (384-322 BC), was a generally accepted concept and had been substantiated by observation. However, the official founder of geodesy is Eratosthenes of Alexandria (276-195 BC), who was the first person to approximately deduced the earth's radius.

Eratosthenes realised that at noon on summer solstice the rays of the sun descended vertically into a well in Syene (modern day Aswan). Whereas in Alexandria (approximately on the same meridian as Syene), the sun's rays formed an angle which he determined to be 1/50th of a complete circle (7� 12').

Of particular interest is that these ancient and sacred Egyptian cities (along with several others) had already been established long before Erastothenes. There is now a growing school of thought behind the idea that they were deliberately positioned according to an ancient set of geodetic traditions.


In Guatemala, the Mayas recorded in their sacred book, The 'Popul-Vuh', that the 'first men' possessed tremendous knowledge: 'They were able to know all, and they examined the four points of the arch of the sky and the round face of the Earth". (9)


The Evidence:

   Egyptian Geodesy:

The most significant evidence in support of this theory is the specific placement of several of the most significant Egyptian monuments themselves. The Nabta Playa complex, a megalithic site composed of a stone circle and several outlying menhirs, was built c. 4,500 - 4,000 BC on the path of the Tropic of Cancer. Such an astronomically significant placement, combined with the orientation and alignment of the megaliths themselves, makes for a compelling association between the placement of Egyptian structures and astronomy at this time.

Several of the most significant complexes in Egypt share a geometric relationship with each other. The placement of the following sites reveals a geometric pattern based on earthly measurements:


Giza : Capital of Early Dynastic Lower Egypt. (29� 59' N).

Giza to the Equator = 1/12th the circumference of the earth. (360�/12 = 30 00�).

 The perimeter of the Great pyramid is such that it occupies exactly 1/2 of a minute of latitude at the equator.

'Whoever built the great pyramid knew, as the legends accurately report, how to make excellent charts of the stars with which to correctly calculate longitude, draw maps of the globe, and so to travel at will across its continents and oceans'. (1)

(More about the Geometry of Giza).


Heliopolis: ('City of the Sun').

Although the Giza complex is generally referred to as the Geodetic centre of Egypt, it shares a particular design feature with the other (3rd-6th dynasty) pyramid complexes in the region. The corners of the Giza pyramids and most of the other 4th - 6th dynasty pyramids are  aligned towards Heliopolis, which also sits close to the 30th parallel (30� 06' 00" N). For this reason, perhaps Heliopolis should be considered the geodetic centre (or geodetic origin) of Egypt and not Giza.

The pyramids built at these sites, specifically those built between the 3rd-6th dynasties, have their corners aligned in the direction of Heliopolis (named 'On' in the Bible), while those built before or after, although still showing a preference for alignments, no longer do so towards Heliopolis. For this reason, and because of its closer proximity to the 30th parallel, Heliopolis might well be considered the true geodetic centre of ancient Egypt. Sadly, the site has been reduced today to a solitary obelisk.

pyramid alignment to Heliopolis, Egypt.

(More about the alignment of Egyptian pyramids)

The significance of Heliopolis is clear from historical references and the alignment of the large 'Memphite' pyramids. It seems relevant therefore, to find that it shares several similarities including close geometric and geodetic connections with other important ancient and sacred sites, of particular interest is the association with Baalbek (Also called Heliopolis) in Lebanon, which lies almost exactly 4� North and 5� East of Giza.

Heliopolis: (30� 06' N, 31� 19' E) - Baalbek:(34� 03' N, 36� 10' E).


Other Significant Sites:

Amarna: Temporary Capital of Middle Dynastic Egypt. (27� 38� N)

Amarna to Equator = 1/13th of the circumference of the earth. (360�/13 = 27 41�).

Significance: In 1350 BC Akhenaton unexplainably moved his capital from Luxor (Thebes) to Amarna, which he ordered to be built in an otherwise desolate region.


Thebes: (Luxor) Capital of Early Dynastic Upper Egypt. (25� 42� N)

Thebes to the Equator  = 1/14th of circumference of the earth. (360�/14 = 25 42�).

Significance: Thebes was considered the spiritual centre of 'upper' Egypt, and was equalled in importance only Giza/Heliopolis in the North. It is related to other sites both through geometry and geodesy, as supported by myth and the historical memoirs of Herodotus.


Philae: �The first cataract�. (24� 00� N).

�First cataract� to the Equator = 1/15th of the circumference of Earth. (360�/15 = 24 00�)

Significance: The official southern border of ancient Egypt. The distance between the southern border and Heliopolis (on the and northern border) was exactly 6� of Longitude.


Nabta Playa: Megalithic stone circle/complex  (22 30� N)

Nabta to the Equator = 1/16th of the circumference of the Earth. (360�/16 = 22 30�).

Significance: The only megalithic remains of its kind in Egypt. (c. 4,000 BC), Built on the Tropic of Cancer.


Giza (Heliopolis)  and the 30th Parallel.

The specific placement of the Giza complex on the 30th parallel has long led people to suspect that it was constructed at that location according to deliberate geodetic placement. Piazzi Smyth suggested that the Giza complex identified an ancient 'meridian' as long ago as 1864. The latitude of Giza at 30� N, has been shown to have a geometric relationship with other sacred Egyptian complexes (see above), which in itself is suggestive of a deliberate geometric system of placement. However, the latitude of 30� has its own geometric significance, representing 1/3rd of the way from equator to pole and a 1/12th division of the circumference of a circle. This division can be seen in both the measure of time and space (there are 12 solar months in the year, 24 hours in each day, and 12 astrological signs in the heavens).

When viewed on a two-dimensional model, the 30th parallel has the unique property of denoting both a third of the circumference of the northern hemisphere, and half the distance from the Equator to the North Pole.


The exterior angle of the Great pyramid is replicated in the angle of the Nile Delta, and is also exactly 1/1000th scale with Alexandria and Behdet (above, left). The Great Pyramid of Giza is also a 43,200 scale representation of the outline of the northern hemisphere of the earth (Right). This number is also double the number of years in the 'Precessionary' cycle, during which the heavens complete an apparent full rotation in the night sky.

(More about Precession)

The preference for the placement of other ancient sacred sites along the 30th parallel, (all of which lie to the east of Giza, and none to the west) is clear. A tradition which can be clearly traced back to at least 3,000 BC.

The 30th parallel.

Persopolis was placed 21� 36' (3 x 7� 12') East of Giza, while Lhasa in Tibet, lies exactly 30� East.

The location of the Persopolis complex (30� 00' N, 52� 50' E) is curious for several reasons, not least the complete lack of housing in a citadel of temples and shrines in a place essentially built in the middle of nowhere, suggesting the site functioned in a 'sacred' capacity. Hancock's suggestion that Persopolis was deliberately sited 7� 12' from Giza, offers a reasonable explanation for the reason for the location of Persopolis, which was until then considered a mystery, as the city seems to have been built inexplicably far from any other known contemporary ancient cities or urban centres.

(More about Persopolis)

The placement of so many important Egyptian sites on geometrically related latitudes is convincing in itself, but there is also a growing amount of evidence that the ancient Egyptian (Giza-Heliopolis) meridian was observed and used as a bearing point for the location of many other important and sacred sites far beyond Egyptian borders.

(More about Prehistoric Egyptian Geodesy)



   Eleusis Alaise.: The Eleusian Mysteries

The same geodetic footprint (with a division of the globe into 360� equal parts), can also be seen in other regions of prehistoric Europe, in particular in France. It is a curious fact that the distance between the French Meridian running through Paris, is separated from the Greenwich meridian running through London by the same distance in degrees as the eastern and western borders of ancient Egypt (1� 09�). 

In the early 20th cent. a French detective named Xavier Guichard began a personal investigation the roots of place names in France. His research led him to conclude that there had once existed a network of alignments extending throughout France (and other areas of Europe), which were connected by locations with the root-name 'Alaise', and through longitude and latitude. He concluded that he had touched upon the Eluesian mysteries of ancient Greece. His work was entirely independent of Alfred Watkins work on 'Ley- lines'.

Alaise - (47� 00' N. 5� 58' E)      Eleusis - (38� 00� N, 18� 00� E)

The two sites are separated by 9� Latitude and 12� Longitude.

Of particular relevance is the fact that Guichard's research uncovered the fact that the Aleusian sites were separated by units of degrees of longitude and latitude, a notion that suggests an understanding of higher geometry and several other sciences. Guichard's research has traditionally been scorned by mainstream historians, but independent research confirms his data (View Data), and therefore much of his original theory.

(More about Xavier Guichard)

(Original facsimile of Eleusis Alesia)



   The 'Oracle Octave': The Geodetic Placement of Oracle Centres.

The suggestion that the Eleusian mysteries were in some way related to a working knowledge of geodesy  was also made by Livvio Stecchini, who suggested that certain ancient oracle centres were placed according to geodetic principles at which 'Omphalus' or 'Navel stones' were placed.

This idea is supported by the historical narratives of Herodotus, who wrote that the oracle centre of Amon in Libya was founded by flying doves from Thebes, which was long considered the geodetic centre of ancient Egypt, and is located 2/7ths of the distance from the equator to the North pole (and at which an Omphalus was later discovered). Herodotus also wrote that the oracle centre at Dodona was said to have been founded by Egyptian priestesses from Thebes and that doves flew between the two sites.

A milestone of literature on the subject of the geodetic placement of oracle centres already exists, written by Livio Stecchini (22), who concluded that several ancient oracle centres in the Mediterranean and Middle-east, were deliberately placed along specific latitudes and separated by units of 1�, which he suggested composed an 'oracle octave', along which the seven major centres were placed, each devoted to one of the seven known planets and symbolised by different sacred trees (for more on this subject refer to the 'Tree alphabet' in R. Grave's book, 'The White Goddess'). Underlying this geodetic placement, he believed was a set of knowledge that that formed the basis of the 'Eleusian mysteries'.  

Stecchini said this about the subject:-

�The Temple of Ammon at Thebes at latitude 25� 43� N was considered, and is, located at 2/7 of the distance between the Equator and the pole. Ancient geographers divided the space between the Equator and the Pole into 7 zones. Egyptologists have vainly tried to explain why the Greeks gave the name of Thebai to the city called Wast by the Egyptians; the explanation is provided by the Hebrew word thibbun meaning �navel�. From the Bible (Jud. 9:37) we learn that �a navel of the earth� was located at Mt. Gerizim where there was originally the sacred center of the Hebrews before it was moved to Jerusalem; the Samaritans never accepted such a shift, and geographically they were right, since the claim of Jerusalem to be the navel of the earth was not correct. The eastern gate of the Second Temple, where the standards of length were located, was called Gate of Susa, but Susa was located at the latitude of Mt. Gerizim which is 32� 11� N. The sanctuary of Mt. Gerizim was located at a latitude that is 2� sevenths from the Equator. Egyptian benchmarks had the shape of the �navel� found at the Temple of Delphoi in Greece. These �navels� had the shape of a hemisphere with the meridians and parallels marked upon them; at times they are half a sphere and at times they are elongated at the Pole. The sanctuary of Delphoi was considered a �navel of the earth,� as being located at 3/7 of the distance from the Equator to the Pole. This would correspond to a latitude 38� 34� N; the Temple of Delphoi is actually located at a latitude 38� 29� N, � which makes it 6� to the North of one of two Egyptian anchor points, the original apex of the Nile Delta at latitude 30� 05� N on the axis of Egypt which is 31� 13� E. Susa was computed as being 17� to the East of this point; it is at latitude 48� 15� E. When the Assyrians established their religious capital at Nimrud in 875 B.C. they chose a point that was 6� to the North and 12� to the East of this Egyptian anchor point. (22).

Stecchini's theory was later included as a part of R. Temples book 'The Sirius mystery', (22) in which he suggested that the distribution of oracle centres embodied an ancient knowledge which had been stored in myth and tradition. Significantly, he states that the pre-dynastic capital of Egypt, Behdet 'existed before 3,200 BC', and was replaced by the city Canopus, (The same name as the star that represents the 'rudder' of the constellation Argo). He suggested that this was the key to the connection between the two mythological narratives of the �Ark� of the Hebrews and the �Argo� of the Argonauts, which he believed, revealed evidence of a prehistoric system which included an understanding of astronomy mathematics and geo-metry (as in the sense of measuring the earth).

(Click here for more about the Oracle centres)



   Meglithic Europe:

Having seen that there is a growing weight of evidence to suggest that the Early dynastic Egyptians used longitude and latitude in the placement of their sacred sites and cities, and that the Piri-reis map places Egypt at its centre. The current division of 360 for the globe, creates by definition, a modern world-grid.

The specific separation between Giza and other sacred sites offers evidence of a division of 360� even at this early time. Sumerian mathematics supports the idea of a base 6 division of both time and space.

Base-6 and the megaliths.

The Sumerians were the first people known to have divided both space and time by units of six with the 'Hexi-decimal' system of counting: 6 x 10 x 6 x 10 etc... (6 x 10 x 6 = 360). The modern division of the year into 12 months, the 24 hours of each day, the division of hours into 60 minutes and 60 seconds, and the divisions of the circle/sphere by 360 degrees, each composed of 60 minutes and 60 seconds of an arc, are all remnants of this Sumerian development. This same division by units of six has been observed at several prominent British megaliths.

Aubrey Burl said of it:

'From Brodgar, where there was once 60 stones, to the Stripple stones with a probable thirty, the builders may have counted in multiples of six. Stennes had twelve. The inner and outer rings at Balfarg have been computed at twenty-four and twelve respectively. Twenty-four has been suggested for Cairnpappel, thirty-six for Arbor Low, and the same number for the devils quoits'. (3)


Prof. Alexander Thom radically suggested that geometry was used in the design of certain prehistoric sites. He surveyed hundreds of European megaliths and concluded that fundamental mathematic principles, based upon a common unit of measurement (which he called the megalithic yard), had been applied in the design of certain sites. As the megalithic tradition in Europe can be traced back to at least 4,000 BC, if not earlier still, his work is still not accepted by most archaeologists, although such a strong presence of geometry should not be ignored, as is clearly suggests that the design of many sacred sites seems to have been based on a sophisticated philosophy of sacred science such as was taught centuries later by the Pythagorean school.  As Professor Thom observes in his book Megalithic Sites in Britain (1967):


It is remarkable that one thousand years before the earliest mathematicians of classical Greece, people in these islands not only had a practical knowledge of geometry and were capable of setting out elaborate geometrical designs but could also set out ellipses based on the Pythagorean triangles.�

The two most prominent stone-circles on the Orkney islands, Stennes and Brodgar; the 'temples of the Sun and Moon', originally had 12 and 60 stones respectively. The two circles are physically linked by a man-made causeway and are intervisible, although several astronomical orientations and alignments have been suggested,  the Maes-Howe passage-mound offers the most conclusive proof of an astronomical association between the megalithic builders and astronomy. It is noticeable that the site is also on the 59th latitude.

Brodgar: (59� 0' 5" N. 3� 13' 51" W)

Note that Giza is located at 30� 05� N. 31� 11� E, almost exactly 29� south and 34� east of the Orkneys complex.

(More about the Orkney's complex)


Other examples of Base-6 mathematics at European megaliths.

Carnac: The great alignments at Carnac were originally composed of 12 rows of stones.

Stonehenge: 30 huge sarsen stones form the main circle at Stonehenge.


Prehistoric British Geodesy

The Great pyramid and Silbury hill share a particular geometric feature in an intimate fashion. The Great pyramid has an exterior angle of 51 51', which is the same as the latitude of Silbury hill and the result of 90/7 (x4). Silbury hill has an exterior angle of 30, the same as the latitude of the Giza complex.

The Avebury complex, the largest megalithic standing stone and Henge-Circle in England is situated exactly a quarter of a degree from Stonehenge on the Salisbury plain. Avebury is also located 1/100 of the planetary circumference from two major archaeological complexes in Ireland, Newgrange and Tara. (3.602�).

Avebury, Glastonbury and Stonehenge are all positioned in such a way so that they are positioned in relation to other important British megalithic sites be units of single degrees. (Based on a division of the globe by 360�). The alignment from Stonehenge to Avebury continues North until it reaches Arbor Low, reputed to be one of the most important 'Ley' centres in UK. In addition, Arbor Low is geodetically separated from other important sites such as Brynn celli Ddu, Callanish, and even Mont St. Michel in France.

The latitude of 53� 10' is the same angle as that produced by the 3:4:5 Pythagorean Triangle. It is also coincidentally, the same as the exterior angle of Khafre's Pyramid at Giza.


It was first observed by Sir N. Lockyer that Stonehenge was connected to other ancient sites through geometry. Perhaps significantly, the geometry he determined created an equilateral triangle with internal angles of 60�. We can also see that Stonehenge lies exactly 1/4 of a degree of latitude from Avebury, both important centres of activity in prehistoric England. Stonehenge is suggested to be connected to other important sites through geometry, in particular, it is worth making mention of the 'Great Great Decagon', as proposed by J. Michell, which involves angles between sites of 36� and 72�. In addition, Avebury and Glastonbury are aligned with Stonehenge at 90� of each other. All of these geometric alignments are accurate to within 1 part in a thousand (1/1000th accuracy), far higher than the scientific requirement (95%) for significance.

There are several other cases of geometric connections between megaliths in Britain, but importantly, these geometric connections reveal an underlying preference for locating the most important sites according to geodetic principles, including the apparent separation of sites in units of degrees based on a division of 360�.

(Other Geometric Alignments)  

(Prehistoric Egyptian Geodesy)   (Prehistoric British Geodesy)

(The World-Grid)



2). Tomkins, Peter, Stecchini, Livio Catullo. Secrets of the Great Pyramid. 1971. BBS Publ.
3). John Michell. The View Over Atlantis, 1969. HarperCollins.
4). Wolfgang Torge. Geodesy. 1980. De Gruyter.
9). Rene Noorbergen. Secrets of the Lost Races. New English Library. 1977.
16). C. Knight & R. Lomas. Uriel�s Machine. Century. 1999.
22). Robert Temple. The Sirius mystery. (Appendix by Livvio Stecchini).
Further Research:
Acropolis Width and Ancient Geodesy - DIO, The International  

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