The UK’s Daily Mail reports amazing details of ancient amazing science which seems to be pretty…err…amazing.
The paper notes;
Ancient man had his own form of 'sat nav' that helped him find his way across Britain, according to new research.
The sophisticated geometric system was based on a stone circle markers.
Our ancestors were able to travel between settlements with pinpoint accuracy thanks to a complex network of hilltop monuments.
Wow, pretty amazing eh?
Researcher Tom Brooks analysed 1,500 prehistoric monuments, including Stonehenge and Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, and found them all to be on a grid of isosceles triangles - those with two sides of equal length - each pointing to the next site.
He believes this proves there were keen mathematicians among the ancient Britons 5,000-6,000 years ago, at least two millennia before the Greeks who were supposed to have discovered geometry.
The trouble being, it’s complete bollocks, as the always amazing Ben Goldacre points out in this blog, Bad Science;
Matt Parker, his nemesis, is based in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London. He has applied the same techniques used by Mr Brooks to another mysterious and lost civilisation.
“We know so little about the ancient Woolworth stores,” he explains, “but we do still know their locations. I thought that if we analysed the sites we could learn more about what life was like in 2008 and how these people went about buying cheap kitchen accessories and discount CDs.”
The results revealed an exact and precise geometric placement of the Woolworths locations. “Three stores around Birmingham formed an exact equilateral triangle (Wolverhampton, Lichfield and Birmingham stores) and if the base of the triangle is extended, it forms a 173.8 mile line linking the Conwy and Luton stores. Despite the 173.8 mile distance involved, the Conway Woolworths store is only 40 feet off the exact line and the Luton site is within 30 feet. All four stores align with an accuracy of 0.05%.”
Matt Parker used an ancient technique: he found his patterns in 800 ex-Woolworth locations by “skipping over the vast majority, and only choosing the few that happen to line-up”.
So there you have it comrades.
From which we can take away the lesson that either; ancient people had access to advanced science (possibly as a result of visiting aliens travelling unimaginable distances to teach geometry to a bunch of smelly people wearing animal hides) or people make shit up.
You be the judge.