This is a rather small point, but I think it gets at the heart of Alan Butler’s naïve vision of ancient history. On America Unearthed this weekend he had Scott Wolter pour a pint of beer into a box whose sides are each one-tenth of an alleged Megalithic Yard. He did not explain why a unit of measurement in this system would be based on a tenth since the Megalithic Yard was allegedly a base-6 system, with an irregular division into 40 Megalithic Inches to the yard.
Because the Megalithic Yard is, for Butler following Alexander Thom, 2.72 feet, that makes each side of the box 0.272 feet, or 3.264 inches. A cube’s volume is equal to the length of its three sides multiplied, yielding 34.77 cubic inches.
A pint is not 34.77 cubic inches.
A pint is 34.68 cubic inches, and Alan Butler knows this. In Civilization One (2004), he reports that Christopher Knight discovered the similarity of measurements after calculating cubic volume for various numbers of Megalithic Inches, and the two men together calculated that a “megalithic pint” with a cube side of 4 Megalithic Inches was equal to 1.005 imperial pints. Similarly, they found that an imperial gallon was close to but not exactly the same as the volume of a cube made with sides of one-fifth of a Megalithic Yard, i.e. 8 Megalithic Inches. (A gallon is eight times the volume of a pint.) They called this an “astonishing” level of accuracy, but it is not precisely accurate.
It may be close, but it seems to be a case of reverse-engineering a connection: Why a pint? Why a tenth of a Megalithic Yard? Why can’t quarts and cups be reduced to even units of this system? In short, with 40 Megalithic Inches per yard to work with, calculating volumes using units from 1 to 40 was bound to produce at least one cubic volume reasonably close to some current unit of volume, in some system.
It gets worse, however.
The imperial pint is not the same as the U.S. customary pint. The U.S. customary pint is approximately 20% smaller than the British imperial pint and has no relationship whatsoever to the megalithic yard. The same rule applies to the gallon, which is composed of eight pints. Somehow the Freemasons missed that one when they imported their secret goddess cult to America along with British customary units.
The imperial pint (or gallon) is not an ancient unit of measurement. It was invented in 1824.
Yes, you read that right. The imperial pint was defined in 1824 by the Weights and Measures Act, which attempted to standardize three different gallons which were then in use in the United Kingdom: These were the corn gallon of 268.8 cubic inches, the wine gallon of 231 cubic inches, and the ale gallon of 282 cubic inches. The imperial gallon was based on the ale gallon, while the United States retained the wine gallon as its standard. However, inspired by the metric system, Britain defined the new imperial gallon not by customary measures but as ten pounds of water, weighed at 62 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 inches of mercury on the barometer. (This definition changed again in 1895 and 1963.) This worked out to 277 cubic inches, a number arrived at transparently by a science that did not involve Stonehenge.
A “megalithic gallon,” as Knight and Butler define it, would be 278.6 cubic inches, which matches none of the customary gallons in use prior to 1824. To make things more complicated, Britain has used at least 17 different measurements of the gallon since the Roman conquest, of which none exactly matches the “megalithic gallon,” though Queen Anne’s gallon, the imperial gallon, and the gallon if Henry VI come close. Henry VI actually manages to come with 0.6 cubic inches, just by sheer coincidence. The historic volumes range from 216 to 282 cubic inches and do not represent a coherent system but rather various estimates of what was apparently ten pounds of water, with variations on the weight of a pound by location, elevation, and pound-weight system (at least four different standards were used prior to Elizabeth I’s standardization of the avoirdupois pound).
In short, the current system Butler relates to the Megalithic Yard did not exist before 1824, and the underlying system it refined did not exist prior to 1300, when the modern units of weight and volume emerged as one option among many variations. If there were some real connection to the Stone Age, we should have seen evidence of a similar unit of measurement between 2,500 BCE and 1300 or 1824.
1/13/2014 03:05:37 am
In reality (let's say Middle Ages and earlier), weren't most liquid measurements made by weight rather that volume (e.g. pints)? I know I've seen several examples of ancient scales used, but it would seem volumes would be more difficult to measure/control.
Fantasy History Watcher
1/13/2014 04:41:47 am
Peter Lancaster Brown
1/13/2014 06:42:19 am
Cue an Abbott & Costello British-flavored skit on "A Pound's Worth of Water"...
Rev. Phil Gotsch
1/13/2014 08:44:34 am
The question of ancient "weights and measures" is interesting …
1/13/2014 09:21:41 am
When I was in college many years ago I learned of a unit of measurement for the female breast know as the "herbie." I recall it was defined to be a cubic mouthful.
1/13/2014 09:29:52 am
Please, less of the base language on this forum
Ghost of Mother Teresa
1/13/2014 09:33:42 am
God Bless You, Reverend Whiter-than-white
1/13/2014 09:47:44 am
I am surprised that Butler did not come up with some kind of measurement based of the MY for the average size of a Vagina... or maybe the Vaginal Yard
Ghost of Marquis de Sade
1/13/2014 09:50:20 am
So am I
Ghost of Long John Holmes
1/13/2014 01:40:54 pm
Little known fact... the yard was based on the length of my.... well, you can guess the rest!
1/13/2014 01:45:24 pm
Oy vey, Holmes, you are dead and still bragging! Nowadays we call you "shorty"!
1/13/2014 02:46:17 pm
A fact every Greek knows
1/13/2014 11:23:36 am
Do you know who invented the Megalithic pint? Time traveling Freemason moon engineers.
1/13/2014 11:38:45 am
Butler failed to mention how he was influenced by the weights and measures from planet Krypton.
1/13/2014 12:31:06 pm
If the pub pint pouring experiment is the most significant
1/14/2014 04:32:47 am
I'm still waiting for history to be re-written. At the opening of each episode we are promised that the history we all have been taught is a lie. So far, we've followed the host to the far corners of "Eurocentric" Earth, watched as holes were dug, marveled as dowsing rods turned, and perspired under hot desert suns, but what specifically over the course of 15+ episodes has Wolter actually found?
Effigy of Harry Potter
1/14/2014 04:38:27 am
"the show will be canceled"
Ghost of Pierre Plantard
1/14/2014 04:45:02 am
When Scott Wolter travels to the South of France in Season Three in 2015 doing his project on the Templars, perhaps he can bring things up to date about how my Priory of Sion had nothing to do with the Jesus Bloodline - it was only introduced by the authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" in 1982. I rejected it on the Jacques Pradel French Radio show in late 1982
1/14/2014 06:32:53 am
For AU to be cancelled, the viewership would really have to crash. For a program like this to draw more than a million viewers - and it is way beyond that according to the numbers - is pure programming gold, especially for a Saturday or Friday night (AA), traditionally among the nights with the fewest viewers. The show is inexpensive to produce. Only the host gets paid. And since it is scripted, Wolters' European jaunts are all filmed at the same time and used when needed.
1/16/2014 02:17:12 am
I think Butler took the "beer head" into his calculations about his megalithic pint, after all, isn't he an expert on "full of air nothingness that wastes space."
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