Megalithic Timeline

* Do ancient stones record the quest to find the other side of the world?

* Is Stonehenge a monument for the discovery of America?

* Is there a place in New Hampshire where sea captains were trained for ancient transatlantic voyages?

The Decipherment of Megalithic Petroglyphs and Monuments

We have discovered that ancient “art” contains geographical and mathematical pictographs (picture drawings).

These petroglyphs (rock drawings) tell stories of sailing exploration and of the discovery of islands in the Oceans. We are learning what early people believed and achieved, putting light on events in late prehistory, prior to the invention of Egyptian hieroglyphics or other written languages by man.

This new evidence explains why prehistoric people were motivated to explore the Atlantic Ocean, and how they were able to discover America and exploit its resources long before it had been thought possible.

<— Click the Timeline to see these ancient sites in historical order, and the discoveries associated with them.

Figure 1 – Ancient Site Locations

Figure 1 gives a general overview of the locations of the ancient sites in the 14 chapters of this book. These discoveries extend known history thousands of years into the past.

This is the story of the exploration of the world by people who left behind their records in rock (Ref.3). We do not know who they were, but they are defined as “megalithic” because they left behind “big rocks”. Some of these rocks are carved, leaving “petroglyphs”, or “rock carvings”.

This period is “pre-historic” because it is before “history”, which is what we know about the past from written records. The “megalithic period” starts c.6000 BC in the Mediterranean, and along the western coasts of Europe. This was 4000 years after the last Ice Age, at the start of the “Neolithicum”, or “new stone age”, as warmer weather in Europe and developing agriculture brought increasing human populations. This period is called “late prehistory”.

We thought that because they were unable to write their spoken (phonetic) languages, they left no written records. But we will show you how they have left their stories encoded in numbers in their petroglyphs and monuments.

Human-constructed piles of rocks, are what we call “monuments”. These are found around the world, dating from different times in different places, but they mostly date from 6000 BC to 1500 BC in Europe. Their origin seems to have been in the Small Mediterranean Sea, between southern Italy and the Strait of Gibraltar. The oldest megalithic monuments are on the islands and underwater in this area, and the oldest megalithic petroglyphs depict this inland sea. Slowly, this culture expanded along the coasts of Europe, and then worldwide. In Scandinavia, the end of this culture was c.1500 BC. This is a long span, and it is remarkable that the cultural tradition we are studying was consistent for such a long period. The earliest megalithic monuments in Europe, made of very big stones, clearly are holy sites, built for eternity. Archaeologists have studied them with precision, but their true meaning has remained unclear. In the central interiors they have almost always found skeletons, and for that reason, they have called these constructions “megalithic graves”. In many monuments, a passage runs to a chamber, so these have been called “passage graves”. However, the number of skeletons found is always very small, as in medieval European cathedrals, which have passages, chambers and a few skeletons. The cathedrals have within them references to the origin of religion: e.g. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Rome. As we shall later explain, European passage graves contain references to the origin of the Sun religion in Egypt. The solar alignments of these megalithic chambers, with their annual displays of rays of midwinter sun, down the passages onto glyphs at the inner end, have been shown to be cardinal features of these monuments.

The “SunGod” religion characterized the megalithic culture, and evidence shows a major ideologic connection with the culture of Egypt. In all the monuments and petroglyphs of the megalithic people, there is evidence of a great admiration for Egypt, which was the great center of civilization at the far end of the Mediterranean Sea. These passage graves appear to be temples of the Sun religion. In the literature (Ref.2), Egyptian civilization becomes visible about 3400 BC. Before the Archaic Period, which started with King Menes (c.3000 BC) the sun year of 365 days had been officially accepted. Sun temples and sanctuaries for the SunGod Ra had appeared. During the 3rd dynasty of King Djoser (c.2700 BC), the first pyramid, a monument of 60 meters was built, after earlier mastabas (brick structures over underground vaults). The sun city Heliopolis was flourishing with its huge Temple of the Sun. During the whole history of Egypt, the East was considered the “empire of the living”, and the West was considered the “empire of the dead”, with SunGod Ra traveling around the Earth in his sunboat on his daily journey.

By “decipherment”, we mean that by counting lines in a petroglyph, or by counting the number of stones at a site, or by observing the angles between stones, we have found consistently intelligible data with predictive power, that has provided interpretations of the meanings of these sites, and of megalithic prehistory in general. We know from reading the literature on this subject, that megalithic people developed a sophisticated understanding of astronomy and spherical mathematics. Early in the Megalithic Period, they knew the world was round, and that they knew only half of it. The curious monument in England near Stonehenge called “Robin Hood’s Ball” (Ref.4, c.4000 BC) is an enormous earthen model of half the earth. They were, of course, curious to know what was in the other half of the world, on the other side of the ocean, where the SunGod went every evening, and had theories that it was “paradise” or “the land of the dead”. The stories of these explorations are told in this book as a series of discoveries of the islands in the Atlantic. Of course the islands close to shore were found first, starting with the Canaries, off Africa. It appears that each of these discoveries in the ocean was celebrated as the finding of the new western home of the SunGod. Once the New World itself was explored, its valuable metal resources were a powerful motivation for long-distance trade and colonization.

It is no coincidence that the “Megalithic Period” ended when the entire world had been explored and had become fully known. This took them about four thousand years to accomplish. Unfortunately, the geographic knowledge of antiquity was later lost through natural disasters, cultural conflicts, and victories of ignorance and faith over learning, such as the library burnings in Troy and Alexandria, and was not to be rediscovered for thousands of years.

Dr. Reinoud de Jonge is a Dutch physical chemist, who teaches chemistry and physics, and studies megalithic art as a hobby. That is Reinoud, holding the flashlight in Cairn T at Loughcrew, Ireland, in the cover photo. His enthusiasm is infectious, as he exclaims, “Now I can read many of these inscriptions, because I now know how they were thinking!”

He studied all the available megalithic inscriptions of Western Europe with a mathematical eye, asking “what evidence can be found within the ‘art’ itself”? This has been possible because all known inscriptions in Europe have been carefully recorded, and published (Ref.1), and so many sites have been dated. He has discovered that while megalithic people did not have a phonetic written language as we do, they were able to record their stories on stone with mathematical symbols, creating the first written stories in the world. This expansion of “cognitive archaeology” is bringing us an enormous cache of information about megalithic life and ideology. Reinoud’s book with Dr. IJzereef, “De Stenen Spreken”, was published in Dutch in 1996 (Ref.5), and subsequently he has developed other materials, including this book with Jay Wakefield. This work is indebted to the work of many other multi-disciplinary archaeological “amateurs”, such as Fell, Bailey, da Silva Ramos, Mallery, Lockyer, Hawkins, Thom, Schliemann, Fawcett, Heyerdahl, and so many others who are slowly unraveling the last few thousand years of prehistory.

The decipherments done for this book were tedious, and proceeded in a step-by-step series of surprising discoveries over a period of ten years. These decipherments are all based on the discovery that megalithic people made geographic petroglyphs, and encoded latitudes in their petroglyphs and monuments. At the Tumulus of Kercado (in Western France) and Stonehenge (in South-Central England), latitudes are encoded in the number of stones. At Dissignac (France), they are encoded in the symbols of the petroglyph, while at America’s Stonehenge (in New Hampshire, USA), they are encoded in the angles between the central axis, and the peripheral stones of the site. As Reinoud puts it, it has involved “learning to think like they did”. As a result, we have been able to construct the “de Jonge Rules of Decipherment”, which appear in a later chapter. These will help teach you what we have learned, and will enable you to contribute to this study by deciphering new sites by yourselves.

An Example of a Geographic Petroglyph From Southern Italy

Fig. 2 – Inscription on both sides of a stone found in the Grotto of Romanelli, eastern peninsula of southern Italy (Ref.6), C.6000 BC.

Dr. de Jonge has discovered that a great proportion of megalithic inscriptions are geographic. Most are coastal maps. In the early neolithic, before 4000 BC, seafaring was limited to coastal navigation. The earliest inscriptions depict the coasts of the Mediterranean, Europe, and Africa. Figure 2 is a magnificent example of a very old geographical inscription (Ref.6), on a stone from the Grotto of Romanelli, on the eastern peninsula of southern Italy, which has been dated at approximately 6000 BC. The “art” on this fairly flat stone wraps around it, so the two sides are shown in the drawing.

Fig. 3 – Representation of the complete inscription of the stone by the authors with modern map of southern Italy.

When you compare this with a modern map of Italy (Fig.3), you can see the inscription is a coastal map of southern Italy, with the “boot” of Italy to the right, and the Island of Sicily on the left, a pattern you would get if you were to roll the stone like an old seal cylinder (this appears to be an early map version of those later found in great quantities in both Mesoamerica and the Middle East (Ref.15). In total, more than 1200 kilometers (800 miles) of coastline have been engraved accurately. You can even see the Island of Vulcano in the Stromboli Islands, Mount Etna, and perhaps a depiction of the wind and currents that flow strongly to the south through the Strait of Messina, where Roman galleys always had to be rowed when traveling northward. In view of the nature of the carving, and considering the other artifacts found in the Grotto of Romanelli, the inscription probably dates back to the early Neolithicum, c.6000 BC (Ref.6). If this turns out to be correct, this map is one of the oldest coast maps ever found in Europe.

Sailors today can appreciate that rivers, lakes, and oceans have been the highways of the world. Colleagues in Seattle recently paddled their kayaks to Alaska, and then from Alaska to Russia, and they tell of quite a few others doing so each year. Many of us read Heyerdahl’s books (Refs.7,8) as teenagers, and understand his findings (and those of Tim Severin of the Brendan Voyage, Ref.9), that “primitive” sailors were in many ways (including foods, clothing, training) better equipped for ocean voyaging in small craft than modern sailors. The oceans, never having been commercially fished, and unpolluted, would have astonished us with their sealife. Bailey (Ref.10) quotes from Roman historian Strabo: “the ancients made longer journeys, both by land and sea, than men of later times”. When making a chart, a sailor will be particularly interested in points, bays, islands, and heights, so it should not surprise us when we see a disproportionate emphasis on these in megalithic “art”.

An Example of a Geographic Petroglyph From Rhode Island

Fig. 4 – Geographic petroglyph of Narrangansett Bay on the backside of an oil lamp dredged from Taunton River near Dighton Rock. Massachusetts, USA. (sandstone, height 9″. 500-1500 AD. map scale 10cm=14mi, Ref. 13).

Another example of a geographic inscription, although more recent, is visible on the back of an oil lamp (Fig.4), dredged out of the Taunton River near Dighton Rock in the 1970’s (Ref.13). It is a sandstone oil lamp, 6 by 9 inches (15x23cm).

The “face” drawing is a stylized chart of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (USA), where the lamp was found. As the home of the “America’s Cup”, this area is still an important sailing area, as it has been for thousands of years. The “mouth” of the face, which is the mouth of Narragansett Bay, leads into three waterways running to the north.

East of Newport the Sakonnet River leads into the Taunton River (the finding spot). In the middle, west of Newport and east of some larger islands, is the route to the City of Providence, and the Blackstone and other rivers. The western entrance runs north from Narragansett Pier, and side branches to Wickford, E. Greenwich, Apponaug and Warwick are shown on the lamp.

Although hard to estimate, this oil lamp could date as late as the Middle Ages, when Indians caught whales along the East Coast. You will find other geographic inscriptions, if you keep in mind that they are not uncommon among prehistoric petroglyphs.

Fig. 5 – Drawing with geographic meanings of megalithic inscription on one of the upright stones (R10) of the passage grave of Les Pierres Plates, on the peninsula of Locmariaquer, Gulf of Morbihan, south Brittany, France (Ref.1, c.2700 BC).

An Example of a Geographic Petroglyph of The Northern Atlantic Ocean

Figure 5 is a drawing (Ref.1), of one of the inscriptions in a 78 foot-long tomb called “Les Pierres Plates”, now on the oceanfront of the Gulf of Morbihan, Locmariaquer, Brittany, France. This is one of many so-called “mother goddess figures” with “multiple breasts”, as shown in Fig.7. The “breasts” of the archaeological literature probably stem from the Christian belief that sex is sinful, and therefore worth being preoccupied about. These are actually all sailing charts of the North Atlantic Ocean, and the “breasts” are islands, with distance lines (dl) of exploration around them.

Dr. de Jonge calls a repeating feature of many inscriptions “distance lines”, or “dl” for short (when dls are used in multiples of 10 he calls them DLs). One dl is the distance of one degree of latitude on the surface of the earth, which corresponds to a distance of 40,000km (the circumference of the earth), divided by 360 degrees (the circle angle of the earth), which equals 111.11 kilometers. On the top of Figure 5 we recognize the southern half of the island of Greenland, the most western area of the then-known world (c.2700 BC). Below it we see an early facsimile of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which divides the ocean in two. In the eastern half of the ocean, four island groups were engraved, all of them discovered long before. Below, you see the Cape Verde Islands, which the sea was poorly investigated (single line), because of the strong winds and sea currents from the northeast. Above it you see the Canary Islands, which belong to Africa (the island inscription is open on the right side). Next are the Azores Islands, which are thought to belong to the other side of the ocean (their symbol is open on the left side). On top is Iceland, important because of its large size. Four island groups are inscribed on the west side of the ocean too. At the time this was inscribed, the people indulged in fantasies about groups of islands in the western half of the ocean as counterparts of islands known to exist in the eastern half. They did not know anything about them, but just assumed a symmetric distribution of land and sea.

Until you read this book, the other lines in Figure 5 will not be easy to understand. The three spaces between the lines below Greenland mean that the coastal waters were investigated there over a distance of 3 degrees of latitude, or 3dl in all directions (3° = 3dl= 333km). The first line offshore at the right side marks a sailing distance of half a “big distance line” (0.5DL= 5dl= 5° = 555km). The second line shows the limit of all the coastal waters ever investigated (2 x 0.5DL= l0dl= 1111km). The inscription shows that the width of the ocean was estimated to be 4DL= 4444km, which happens to be quite a realistic figure. The inscription was made between the discovery of Greenland (c.3300 BC) and the discovery of America (c.2500 BC) (Ref.5). All the details indicate the probable date for this petroglyph is c.2700 BC.

Megalithic Use of Latitudes and Distance Lines

After thousands of years of experience with their astronomic observatories, neolithic people had learned that a one-degree change in height of the sun, moon, or star would be caused by moving some distance further north or south, so that one degree of latitude (called a “moira” by Egyptians) equalled 60 Egyptian miles. This distance changes a bit as you move north, due to a slight bulge of the Earth at the equator, but not much. Their accuracy is discussed by Tomkins (Ref.11): “computing from the third millenium BC Egyptian text, the mean length of a degree of latitude in Egypt would be 110,832 meters, while the modern estimate is 110,800 meters”.

Modern english statute miles are derived, but a little different, from very ancient mile measures (“some Greek temples are in English feet”-Ref.11). We have primarily used the French meter (1km= 0.6214 statute miles), which is derived from a curved meridian of the earth, and, like the foot, not related to time, as were many ancient measures.

Thomas Jefferson was a surveyor, and read extensively in classical works in their original languages. He understood that ancient measures were often related to time, which is why he opposed and prevented the planned US adoption of the decimal system by Congress.

The ancients knew that “the speed of the rotation of the vault of heaven is one degree every four minutes. The Egyptians (found…) it was expedient to divide the circumference of the earth not only into 360 degrees, but also into 24 hours. According to the second system, a degree is equal to 4 minutes of time, and a minute of degree is equal to 4 seconds of time” (Ref.11). English Nautical Miles (NM) (= 1.1515 statute miles, and = 1.853km) are used for distances at sea, because it is the length of one minute of arc of any great circle of the earth (Ref.12). Therefor if we were to use 60 nautical miles (NM) for a dl (600 for a DL), we would be using a modern unit of measure equivalent to 60 Egyptian miles, both equal to the distance of 1° . It is amazing that the ancient Egyptian mile is equal to the modern Nautical Mile. Apparently Jefferson should have recommended adoption of the Nautical Mile. We suggest future research be based in Nautical (Egyptian) miles, but we have not seen others use it. We have used kilometers (for European sites) and miles (for American sites) because so many readers are accustomed to visualizing distances in these units.

Tomkins and Dr. Stecchini, a Professor of the History of Science, explain that calculations of longitude between fixed points were easy in Egyptian prehistory: “because every observable star comes to the meridian of every place on the globe once in 24 hours, the interval which elapses between the same star coming upon the meridian of two different places is the difference in longitude of the two places” (Ref.11). In other words, the time interval traveled by the sun between two places gives the distance between them, though doing this at sea required a way to keep accurate time at sea, not accomplished until the 17th century AD. To simplify navigation for sailing, as latitudes and longitudes form nearly perfect squares at near-equitorial latitudes, it made sense to use a dl or DL grid in all directions. Thus, for example, to show distance explored around an island, the megalith builders drew multiple rings of one dl around it. So we find that most of the “mother figures” with “breasts” are actually primitive charts with islands surrounded by encircling distance line (dl) rings of exploration, as shown in Figure 5.

Fig. 6 – Megalithic inscription on one of the upright stones (L2) of the passage grave of Isle Longue, Locmariaquer, Brittany. (Ref. 1 after the discovery of America, c.2200 BC.)

Petroglyphs of The Ocean Carved After The Discovery of America

Dr. de Jonge has found that all “mother goddess figures” at sites dated after c.2500 BC show features of the American coast. For example, this is shown in Fig.6, a beautiful late inscription (Ref.1) on a support stone in the Ile Longue dolmen also in the Gulf of Morbihan, Brittany, dated c.2200 BC.

It is a stylized inscription of the North Atlantic Ocean (Ref.5). We recognize the mainland of Europe and Africa on the right, the equator below, and the other side of the ocean on the left. On the top, the North Pole is indicated. Note the inward “points” on each side of the Atlantic, indicating Brittany and Newfoundland, both at 47° N. The bays which look like ears on the figure are the Mediterranean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea.

The lines feathering out above them indicate that land is found everywhere around the north of the ocean. As a consequence, navigation of the north is made easier than first thought. Above the inscription at the left side, a natural oval depression in the stone can be identified. Although not important, it nicely indicates Hudson Bay. From a comparison of all the details with the features of petroglyphs at other sites, it can be estimated that this carving dates from c.2200 BC.

Other megalithic inscriptions of the ocean, found in a variety of locations in Brittany, are shown in Fig.7. Some of them show various islands, and some show dl and/or DL. When you have finished reading this book, you will probably be able to “tell the story” about each of these figures.

The lines feathering out above them indicate that land is found everywhere around the north of the ocean. As a consequence, navigation of the north is made easier than first thought. Above the inscription at the left side, a natural oval depression in the stone can be identified. Although not important, it nicely indicates Hudson Bay. From a comparison of all the details with the features of petroglyphs at other sites, it can be estimated that this carving dates from c.2200 BC.

Fig. 7 – Megalithic petroglyphs of the North Atlantic Ocean from various locations in Brittany (Ref. 5). The top-left one is very old (c.5000 BC). The bottom-right one is more recent (c. 2000 BC).

Other megalithic inscriptions of the ocean, found in a variety of locations in Brittany, are shown in Fig.7. Some of them show various islands, and some show dl and/or DL. When you have finished reading this book, you will probably be able to “tell the story” about each of these figures.

How The SunGod Reached America

This book challenges the accepted paradigm that diffusion of culture across oceans before Columbus was not possible.

Not a single hand-worked mineshaft, corbelled solar-oriented building, hilltop fortress, pyramid, temple mound, coin, or any of the other of thousands of constructions, artifacts or inscriptions in the Americas is accepted as credible evidence of pre-Columbian contact with Europe, with the exception of the Viking camp unearthed in Newfoundland.

Because of the professional insistence that the sun temples and civilizations of the Americas arose in isolation, we have drafted this publication for the public.

Efforts to uncover and document the past need the political help that can be provided by widespread public interest.

We have all been reading about the Taliban blowing up ancient Buddha statues and smashing museum collections in Afghanistan. The largest libraries in both the Old World and the New World were burned on purpose by man. Unfortunately, even today, in the field we are studying, important evidence is being destroyed by people who do not want their turfs, beliefs or rights challenged.

In New York State, archaeologists are reportedly being paid to sign Declarations of Non-Significance so stone chambers can be destroyed by developers on housing lots; the US Army Corps of Engineers has dumped 30 tons of rock on the Kennewick Man site on the Columbia River (Washington State, USA), because the Indians “already know their history”; the Brazilian Navy reportedly has dumped tons of mud on a shipwreck full of amphorae (dated by experts to the 3rd century AD, and pinpointed to the Roman City of Kouass, on the Moroccan coast, Ref.14), and confiscated the jars, preferring their history of being discovered by the Portuguese; in New Zealand, caves of non-Polynesian/Melanesian skeletons and artifacts have reportedly been bulldozed shut by authorities, so as not to offend Maori rights, and so on.

It is our belief that self-serving contemporary motivations should not be allowed to prevent research, or control humanity’s knowledge of its history.

Each Chapter is about a prehistoric site, and they stand alone, in chronological order. The chapters can be serialized from this book with our written permission, and credit to this publication. They may prove useful as tourist guides at some of the sites. We find, however, that the chapters are strongly supportive of one another, like instruments in a symphony. Only by listening to all of them together do we hear the story of the global sailing effort, the quest of prehistoric man to explore and understand the scope of his world, and exploit its resources.


1. Twohig, E. Shee, The Megalithic Art of Western Europe, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981

2. Old World Civilizations/The Rise of Cities and States, Weldon Owen Pty Limited, Australia, 1995

3. Balfour, M., Megalithic Mysteries, Dragon’s World, 1992 (ISBN 1-85028163-7)

4. Richards, J., Stonehenge, English Heritage, 1992

5. Jonge, R.M. de, and IJzereef, G.F., De Stenen Spreken, Kosmos Z&K, Utrecht/Antwerpen, 1996 (ISBN 90-215-2846-0) (Dutch, pg.152)

6. Grote Encyclopedie van de Mens uit de Oertijd, J. Jelinek, 1994 (Dutch, pg.458)

7. Heyerdahl, T., The RA Expeditions, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1971

8. Heyerdahl, T., The Tigris Expedition, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1983

9. Severin, T., The Brendan Vovage, Hutchinson, London, 1978

10. Bailey, J., Sailing to Paradise, Simon & Schuster, 1994

11. Tompkins, P., Secrets of the Great Pyramid, Harper Colophon Books, Harper & Row, New York, 1971 (ISBN 0-06-09-0631-6)

12. Mixter, G., Primer of Navigation, 4th Edition, D. Van Nostrand Co., Princeton, 1960

13. Cahill, R., New England’s Ancient Mysteries, Old Saltbox Publishing, Salem, Mass., 1993 (ISBN 0-9626162-4-9) (pg.87)

14. Feats and Wisdom of the Ancients, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Va., 1990 (ISBN 0-8094-7675-4)

15. Irwin, C., Fair Gods and Stone Faces, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1963 (pg.188)

16. Cunliffe, B., Facing the Ocean, The Atlantic and its People 8000 BC – AD 1500, Oxford Press. 2001 (ISBN 0-19-924019-1)