The Astronomical Origin of Ogham Writing: Analysis of the Lunar Data Contained on the Drumconwell Ogham Stone

Midnight Science (2013-2014), Volume 10, Paper 11

Author: Derek Cunningham

Paper Submitted: 28th May 2013, Published: 28th May 2013


2016 July Website Ad Page The Long JourneyRecent studies of artwork found on various Ogham stones has revealed that they show the same astronomical data as that found in Scotland on circa 1,300 year old Pictish Stones. In this study of the Drumconwell Ogham stone it is again found that the circular components accurately represent the size of the moon and earth, and that the data largely replicates the values found on the Pictish Invereen stone.


Analysis of circa 6,000 year old linear carvings found on the Orkney Venus, and the Skara Brae dressed stone, both found on the Orkney Islands (3,4) has led to the conclusion that lines drawn on various Orkney pieces are examples of proto-writing with the lines drawn to match a very specific array of astronomical values (1-22).

Intriguingly, the pattern observed on Pictish stones is apparently based on the exact same astronomical values found in much older art pieces found in South Africa (1), Germany (10) and China (9) that range in age from 400,000 years old to 30,000 years old. Of these samples the most complex is the circa 100,000 to 70,000 year old Blombos Cave samples in South Africa (1), with the circa 300,000 to 400,000 year old Bilzingsleben fan motif being the most mathematically precise. Intriguingly the alignment of the three causeways in front of the Great Pyramids, also appear to align to the same astronomical list. (1), leading to the conclusion that the lines on various archaeological samples are all examples of early astronomical proto-writing.

With Ogham writing exhibiting a linear structure similar to the engraved patterns found in Orkney it was therefore decided to analyze a series of Ogham-bearing stones to determine if the Ogham marks are an extension of the proposed astronomical-based proto-writing found in more archaic pieces. Preliminary studies were intially carried out on the Ogham writing found on the Armore I stone at St Declan’s Oratory in Ardmore (21), and the Ballintaggart I and III stones (22,23), and in all three cases consistent data supporting the suggestion that the lines are astronomically related was obtained.

To fully test this preliminary theory that early proto-writing was based on the practice of converting astronomical data to simple angular values (1) and that Ogham is a development of an alphabet system from the more archaic proto-writing system (21), an analysis of multiple Ogham-bearing stones is required. Thus the attempt here to analyze the Drumconwell stone.

In prior studies (1-22) the astronomical values found on stones are typically the lunar parameters considered most useful in measuring astronomical time, and predicting eclipse events. These are zero degrees (perhaps referencing the horizon); 1.0 degrees, which represents the daily motion of earth as it travels around the sun, 5.1 degrees which relates to the moon’s inclination to the ecliptic; 6.5 degrees relates to the 6 synodic month eclipse semester, but calculated instead in draconic months; the values 9.3 and 18.6 relate to the lunar nodal cycle and the 13.66 and 27.32 degree values corresponds to the half and full sidereal month. An exception value of 11 degrees is also found in most pieces and appears to related to the Vedic 11 Karanas, and is useful because the structure of the calendar created using the 11 Karanas also permits the calculation  of the half value of Pi (1).  These values have recently been found central in creating the Atacama Giant in Chile, and many other well known ancient archaeological sites – see 400,000 Years of Stone Age Science.


The method for analyzing the Ballintaggart III Ogham stone is identical to the method used in all prior studies. First the stone is rotated until the art piece aligns to any of the various specific angles listed in the given astronomical series. Then the other lines are compared to see if they match the provided list. If no match is found the piece is simply rotated to the next value in the series and the process repeated until an optimum fit is obtained. In some specific cases, pieces have been uncovered that align exactly to due east, with some of the lines exhibiting alignments south of due east and other aligned to north of due east (see earlier work on the Great Pyramids). In other samples the stones are found to have dual alignments with the high-angle alignment values when the stone rotated circa 70 to 90 degrees and the astronomical pattern “duplicated” – for an example of dual alignment see the Orkney Venus study of early proto-writing in Scotland (3).

For this specific study the lines are relatively simple, and the stone readily aligns to the listed values.

The circular values drawn on the stone also appear to relate to the dimension of the earth relative to the moon. This replicates data extracted from the layout of Stonehenge (16), and the Invereen Pictish stone study (2).

Discussion and Conclusion

The exact origin of the Ogham script has been the subject of much debate for centuries. Though it is often stated to have originated in Ireland that is not certain, Ogham-type lettering has also been found in Wales, the southwest corner of England, in several regions of Scotland, The Isle of Man, The Orkneys, and on The Shetland Islands. Thus all that is certain is that the script developed either in Ireland, or in Britain (23).

In the late 19th century some 230 Ogham stones had been documented with the greatest number (around 200) found in Ireland, but in terms of stones density per square mile The Shetland and the Orkneys Islands combined total of 4 stones (or 1 stone per 250 square miles of land area) is actually not far behind Ireland at 1 stone per 160 square miles.

Over many years many theories have been proposed to explain the origin of the Ogham text. Some have suggested that it was created to encode communications from the Romans, others still that it has a Sanskrit origin, due to Sanskrit text employing a guide line similar to Ogham. However, most of these theories have little direct support.

With the fourth Ogham stone aligning to astronomical values, and the list used was extracted from an earlier study of the Pyramids (and the archaeological record showing that these astronomical values were used in the extremely ancient past –  at least three studied samples older than circa 70,000 years old) there appears to be now three plausible explanations for the same knowledge appearing over such a wide timeframe, and in almost all regions of the world.

The first is oral records, which implies that the astronomical knowledge was handed down generationally for thousands of years. The second theory is that the astronomical knowledge was rediscovered independently on multiple occasions. This is unlikely given the use of the half-sidereal month value, or a civilization recovered the history from prior civilisations through decoding ancient archaic artwork that was created by the prior civilization. This appears the most likely explanation.


  1. 400,000 Years of Stone Age Science, Author Derek Cunningham, Amazon Kindle.
  2. D. Cunningham, Accurate Drawing of the Earth and Moon in Pictish Artwork: A Detailed Analysis of the Invereen Stone, Midnight Science Vol. 8, (2011-2013) Paper 4.
  3. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Orkney Venus: Suggestion of Proto-writing in the Alignment of the Etched lines Present on the Orkney Venus Statue to Standard Lunar Astronomical Values, and the Suggestion of an Archaic Global Civilization, Midnight Science Vol. 8 (2011-2012), Paper 2.
  4. D. Cunningham, The Decorated Stone of Skara Brae: Presence of Astronomical Data Similar in Structure to that seen at the Irkutsk Geoglyph Field Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 1.
  5. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Aberlemno 1 (Serpent Stone): Evidence of Accurate Knowledge of the Moon’s Orbit in Pictish Artwork, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 2.
  6. D. Cunningham, Interpretation of Astronomical Data in Pictish Artwork: Analysis of the Aberlemno III Pictish Stone, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 3.
  7. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Fiscavaig Pictish Stone: The Presence of Basic Astronomical Data, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 4.
  8. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Astronomical Data Contained in the Dunnichen Stone, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 5.
  9. D, Cunningham, Analysis of the Astronomical Data Contained within the Engraved Stone uncovered at the Shuidonggou Paleolithic Site, Northwest China, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 6.
  10. D. Cunningham, Presence of Astronomical Art in the 400,000 year old Bilzingsleben Bone Artifacts, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 9.
  11. D. Cunningham, Preliminary Analysis of Tibetan Mascoid Art: Presence of Astronomical Data Consistent with Knowledge of Eclipses and Lunar Motion, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 10.
  12. D. Cunningham, Preliminary Analysis of the Acre Geoglyph Field for Evidence of Astronomical Art, Midnight Science, Vol. 9 (2012-2013), Paper 12.
  13. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Fazenda Colorada site in Brazil for alignment to astronomical values, Midnight Science Vol. 9 (2013-2014), paper 13.
  14. D. Cunningham Extracting Lunar Astronomical Data from Stonehenge and the Stonehenge Cursus: Evidence of Knowledge of a 365 day year and Knowledge of Lunar and Earth Dimensions in the physical layout of Stonehenge Midnight Science, Vol. 9 (2013-2014), Paper 14.
  15. D.Cunningham, Presence of Proto-Writing in the Engraved Stones uncovered at the Orkney Ness Site, Midnight Science Vol. 8, (2013-2014).
  16. D. Cunnngham, Evidence of Accurate Knowledge of the Size of the Earth and the Moon and Knowledge of Lunar Astronomical Data in the Physical Layout of Stonehenge, Durrington Walls and the Stonehenge Barrows: Uncovering Evidence That Stonehenge Was Once Only A Small Part Of A Much Larger Structure, Midnight Science, Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 2.
  17. D. Cunningham, The Lunar Connection: Linking Stonehenge and Avebury to the Orkney Island Ring of Brodgar, Midnight Science, Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 3.
  18. D. Cunningham, Analysis of linear incised artifact uncovered on the Colorado River for Astronomical Values: A study of early Proto-writing, Midnight Science, Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 5.
  19. D. Cunningham, Analysis of a Carved Rock Discovered at Holt’s Point in Canada: Evidence of Proto-writing and Astronomical Awareness, Midnight Science, Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 6.
  20. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Windmill Hill engraved Chalk for Astronomical Values, Midnight Science, Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 7.
  21. D. Cunningham, Development of Ogham writing from Lunar Astronomical Values: Analysis of the Ardmore I Stone, Midnight Science, Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 8.
  22. D. Cunningham, Analysis of Ballintaggart I Ogham: Apparent Confirmation that Ogham Writing was Constructed Using Simple Astronomical Values, Midnight Science Vol. 10 (2013-2014), Paper 9.
  23. Ogham Inscriptions in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland By Sir Samuel Ferguson, Google ebook originally published 1887

© 2010 – 2013 Derek Cunningham; Midnight Science, ISSN 2160-0201; Volume 10, Paper 11.


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2 Responses to The Astronomical Origin of Ogham Writing: Analysis of the Lunar Data Contained on the Drumconwell Ogham Stone

  1. Ronan Coghlan says:

    Ireland is not part of Britain. Even in those unhappy days when both countries were united, the realm was known as Great Britain and Ireland, indicating they were separate entities.

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