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Gerald Hawkins

One of the heirs of Sir Norman Lockyer was the astronomer Dr. Gerald S. Hawkins who employed a computer to show that there existed at Stonehenge a pattern of alignments with twelve major lunar and solar events. He first published his findings in an article, "Stonehenge Decoded," in the journal "Nature" in 1963, and then in a book with the same title, "Stonehenge Decoded", in 1965 (New York: Doubleday; published in London: Souvenir Press, in 1966).

Hawkins identified 165 key points in the Stonehenge complex and found that many of them very strongly correlated with the rising and setting positions of the sun and moon. As remarked in the discussion of Stonehenge and Archaeoastronomy, the most important features of the site are those associated with Stonehenge I: the 56 "Aubrey Holes", the "Heel Stone", and the four "Station Stones" (91, 92, 93, 94). Hawkins argued that the "Aubrey Holes" could be used to predict eclipses of the moon. In the following diagram are indicated the summer and winter solstice alignments (including the summer solstice sunrise over the "Heel Stone"), and the maximum and minimum "standstills" of the moon.

(right) Alignments of sun lines and moon lines through the "Station Stones" and the "Heel Stone" (diagram from Krupp)

Hawkins' ideas dovetail nicely with those of Alexander Thom. His book generated a lot of controversy, fomenting in particular a clash between astronomers on the one hand and archaeologists on the other.

In 1968 Hawkins shifted his attention from Stonehenge and turned to a similar problem in Peru, the possible astronomical alignments and associations found in the mysterious lines and gigantic geometric figures at Nazca. Hawkins published the results of his Nazca surveys in "Ancient Lines in the Peruvian Desert" in 1969.

For more information on Gerald Hawkins click to the following:
Stonehenge & The Druids
Stonehenge Reconstructions
Archaeoastronomy at Stonehenge

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