Megalithic art ideas of V.M.M. Reijs


Glossary of terms

The definitions of terms can be seen here.

Source material

For doing this kind of study it is of course important that representations of the megalithic art matches the real megalithic art. I am using the following sources (in order of preference):
  1. real stones or good exposed pictures of the megalithic art
  2. O' Kelly [1982] and [1983], Twohig [1981] and Eogan [1986]
  3. Brennan [1983]
  4. other sources
A database is made of the stones that have megalithic art on it. At this moment it holds some 475 stones of the 570 present (Eogan [1986], page 167) in Ireland (this is caused mostly due to missing stones from Knowth). In due coarse I hope to have all stones in there.
The database has the following information:

A case study on compositions

A case study has been done on megalithic art that seem to be repeated at several location and with approximately the same attributes. At this moment I don't have the impression that these objects are phosphenes. An example of these radials is:

The three double spirals at Newgrange

Black&white version from
O'Kelly ([1982], page 177 and plate XII)
Coloring and possible symbolism by Reijs [2001]

Would the three double spirals represent mother (yellow), father (blue) and the child(green)?

I found some text in  "Waar lag Troje?" (Peursen, A. van, bres 220, juni/juli 2003, page 99), which describes the work of a Dutch writer (Iman Jacob Wilkens on Troy in England) and refers to the triskele  (I translated the below from Dutch):
"The symbol of celtic life vision was the triskele; an icon of three united waves. In all things on earth this unity can be seen, consisting of three co-existing elements: beside the two counter-elements (recognizable as dualism) is a third element that connects and embraces the two counter-elements."

This text describes very well the above picture:

But this does not describe the layout of the official triskele  so very well, in my opinion. So I was wondering where the above text comes from or were there different versions of the triskele! It would be interesting to know if there is something related to the above picture, so that I can draw some possible analogies. Please provide your feedback on this.


Shimmering, in a spiral seen as a motion of spokes, is intriguing. Here is a black&white sample of the spiral on Newgrange stone C2, which clearly shows this:
Double spiral C2
If one moves one's head, one can experience this motion of spokes (shimmering).
Another simulation video is here:

This effect is caused by the negative retinal afterimage (also called retinal Complementary After Image, CAI). The afterimage is more pronounced when the contrast between light and dark patches is bigger (Petrov [2002] and Francis [2002]).  Quoting Petrov [2002], page 1110:
As soon as the observer's motion (and the succession of afterimages) is established, the spokes' motion ceases, which is consistent with illusory motion being observed only in the beginning or during the reversal of the observer's motion relative to the stimulus.

I am in search of models.literate, ideas that can simulate this effect, so that I can simulate it using pictures of the real art. If you have ideas, let me know.


I would like to thank the following people for their help and constructive feedback: John Cleff and all other unmentioned people. Any remaining errors in methodology or results are my responsibility of course!!! If you want to provide constructive feedback, let me know.

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Last major content related changes: June 27, 2003