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Could a formation like
THE 2001 MILKHILL SPIRAL
Made in 5 hours by 12 people?

Reconstructing the massive masterpiece

In this article I'm by no means claiming the Milkhill six-fold "spiral" to be a hoax. When giving talks about the 2001 UK formations during the past year, I presented this particular design as being a genuine one with absolute certainty. This was based on its mere size and complexity, considering it appeared overnight. After making such a statement, I eventually decided to check my own conclusions - surely I should not make an estimate like that just based on a feeling.

Let's for starters define this formation roughly by its main properties:
Size: 300 meters across.
Geometry: 409 flattened circles on a design based on 6 semicircle arcs (not spirals, though the formation has been called the "Milkhill spiral").
Duration of creation: max 6 hours in the darkness

Important note:
For the purpose of this study, the floor pattern or any details in the lay are omitted.

The aim is not to present this particular formation as man-made, but to examine whether a design with the above features could be created by a group of people.

Those figures seem mind-blowing. One should not be surprised if anybody's first guess was this could not be accomplished without supernatural forces. But the first guess might not be that reliable after all..

I started by making a contrast enhanced image of an aerial photo (see above). This shows the flattened area as black against a white backround. I then cropped the image as tightly as I could and scaled it to a size of only one pixel in Adobe Photoshop. This was a way to get the average darkness of the image, the result being 31%. In other words, 31% percent of the 90.000 square meters (300 x 300) area is flattened. Let's round it up to 33,3%, that is one third of 90.000, giving us 30.000 square meters to flatten (of course flattening is only one part of the whole process).