the September 1975 "Computer Weekly" it was announced that
they, in conjunction with Digital Equipment Limited, were running a
competition in which the first prize would be a £5860 computer. A
body of interested pupils rapidly formed to try and think of a
subject of study suitable for the competition, the only requirement
of which was that a computer should be necessary to complete the
team chose to study the Stone Circle at Castle Rigg, even though, at
that point, very little was known about stone circles; all we knew
was that someone had used a computer to do something at Stonehenge!
Many hours work in Keswick town library and Manchester University
library produced a lot more information, some of which has still not
registering for the competition, we began work with several attempts
to make an accurate survey of the site using an inaccurate
ex-Canadian Army gun-sight! A description of what we aimed to do was
submitted in November, and in February we discovered that we had been
selected as one of the five finalists who were to go down to London.
By this time the project had been broken down into five stages.
several years now, there has been much evidence for the existence of
the MY, a unit of length (83 cm.) which many stone circles appear to
use in their layout. There is still argument, however, as to how
these distances were measured. Some people say that they were paced;
others say that a yardstick was used - we aimed to show which was
more probable. As one would expect, we showed that pacing was
considerably less accurate than the use of a yardstick. On comparing
the accuracies with those found in stone circles, we found that it is
very likely that stone circles were measured out with yardsticks. The
data for this stage were collected in the sand-pit on Greta Lawn.
a few stone "circles" are precise circles. Constructions
are found to fit more precisely if the circle is flattened or
stretched. The aim of stage 2 was to evolve an objective method of
some time it has been suggested that alignments at stone circles have
an astronomical significance. The aim of stage 5 was to produce a
quick and accurate method of moving the sun, moon and stars "back"
the shapes of stone rings mentioned in Stage 2 all but the circle
have an axis of symmetry. The aim of Stage 4 was to find in which
direction, if any, the axis generally pointed. Also in this stage,
several maps were drawn which supply a considerable amount of
evidence of the possibility that many circles have been destroyed by
settlement and agriculture.
aim of Stage 5 was to investigate the hypothesis that ancient sites
occur in straight lines, known as "lay lines".
the finals we came second to Wolverhampton who had a very highly
polished project. After the presentation, Patrick Moore, who had
presented the prizes, told us that he would like to have more
information on the project and that he thought he might be able to
make a programme out of it. Shortly after narrowly missing the only
prize of a mini-computer, we were told that a food company was buying
a new computer and was going to give us its 1902 - a better computer
than that we had originally entered for.
the project team have learned a lot through the project, and have
enjoyed much of the "work" that we have done.
Stewart, 6 Sc.