Ludovic McLellan Mann's place in the history of prehistoric metrology

Henty, Liz (2020) Ludovic McLellan Mann's place in the history of prehistoric metrology. Scottish Archaeological Journal, 42 (Supple). pp. 52-64. ISSN 1755-2028

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Megalithic metrology, the notion that Neolithic monument builders employed a standard unit of measurement when setting out stone circles, has a long history. William Stukeley was the first to suggest that this standard unit was the druid cubit. He may have drawn on Isaac Newton's 1728 description of the temple of Abydos, which noted that the layout utilised cubits in the design, though the druid cubit was Stukeley's invention. This idea of a standard universal measure seemingly lay dormant for over a century until Edward Duke, Charles Piazzi Smyth and Sir William Flinders Petrie proposed other metrological systems. The subject was taken up again in 1930 when Ludovic McLellan Mann wrote a pamphlet entitled Craftsmen's Measures in Prehistoric Times in which he detailed new measures; the ‘alpha unit’ (0.619 inches) and the ‘beta unit’ (0.55 inches). A special committee formed from members of the Glasgow Archaeological Society and the Glasgow University Geological Society resoundingly disagreed, but Mann found approval from outside the archaeological community when his ideas were taken up by Major F C Tyler, who used them to elaborate on his own version of the lengths of Alfred Watkins’ old straight tracks. More famously, Alexander Thom made megalithic metrology, (the megalithic rod, yard, foot, and inch) an essential part of his thesis, ideas which received an esoteric twist in the New Age writings of John Michell. Was this an original discovery or was Thom influenced by Mann and others before him?

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Crossref journal articles via Jisc Publications Router
Uncontrolled Keywords: Archaeology, Cultural Studies
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 11:44
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022 11:44

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