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Archaeology & History

Stonehenge builders used Pythagoras' theorem

By T.K. Randall
June 22, 2018 · Comment icon 14 comments

The builders of Stonehenge were skilled mathematicians. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Jeffrey Pfau
The neolithic monument's builders had used Pythagoras' theorem 2,000 years before Pythagoras was even born.
The startling discovery has been revealed in a new book published to coincide with the summer solstice - a date of particular significance for both Stonehenge and its builders.

Pythagoras' theorem, which has been used for thousands of years, states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

According to the book's authors, four sarsen stones set up as far back as 2750 BC represent the most convincing evidence yet that the monument's neolithic builders understood this concept thousands of years before Pythagoras himself had even been born.
The four stones, when split in half diagonally, happen to form a perfect Pythagorean 5:12:13 triangle, while the eight lines radiating from these shapes align perfectly with the solstices and equinoxes.

"People often think of our ancestors as rough cavemen but they were also sophisticated astronomers," said contributor and editor John Matineau.

"They were applying Pythagorean geometry over 2000 years before Pythagoras was born."

"We see triangles and double squares used which are simple versions of Pythagorean geometry. And then we have this synthesis on different sites of solar and lunar numbers."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (14)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Essan 6 years ago
Did ancient Britons use alien technology to decide the location of 20th century shops?!   Proof the Illuninati control where you buy your pick & mix sweets from?  Or coincidence (nah, that's impossible .... )http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/davidgregory/2010/01/i_see_a_pattern_emerging.html    
Comment icon #6 Posted by John Allanson 6 years ago
(Cough..Cough!) Surely if they predated Pythagoras by (let's say)a good few years, it wasn't Pythagoras' theorem!
Comment icon #7 Posted by CloudSix 6 years ago
What do you mean?
Comment icon #8 Posted by acute 6 years ago
I was joking about it being called a 'theorem' while many proven theories are still known as a 'theory'.
Comment icon #9 Posted by CloudSix 6 years ago
Oh, my bad then .
Comment icon #10 Posted by Harte 6 years ago
There are no theories in Mathematics. Harte
Comment icon #11 Posted by sirfiroth 6 years ago
And Albert Einstein said: "In so far as theories of mathematics speak about reality, they are not certain, and in so far as they are certain, they do not speak about reality." Jacob  
Comment icon #12 Posted by Harte 6 years ago
He also said: " Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." Wouldn't take his word on mathematical subjects. Harte
Comment icon #13 Posted by TripGun 6 years ago
Since this application of the theorem came before the official naming then I vote to rename the theorem:  Stonehengios theorem perhaps or Druid math-magic
Comment icon #14 Posted by Harte 6 years ago
It's not named after Pythagorus because he invented it. It's named after him because he was the first (to their knowledge at the time) to prove it. The idea of a mathematical proof wasn't a part of earlier Mathematics. Harte


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