email Martin Keitel

Crop Circle at
North Down, Wiltshire
reported July 6, 2003

How a complex looking formation turns out not to be complex at all

When I first saw the picture of this highly detailed formation, I sincerely thought "This is the most impressive one this year". Who would not be impessed by a shape that is made of almost 1000 (998 according to my calculations) small elements over 11 rings inside a large disk, cleverly aligned to row of tumuli on the field?

But let's take a closer look. At first, the alignment... really not that perfect. Was it intented to be located exactly on the straight line created by the four tumuli? If so, the circle makers sure did much worse than the ancient landscape artists! Or is it just a meaningless co-incidence that it is positioned almost over this line? Apparently not. Anyway, of course if there is a point, the point is taken, regardless of the accuracy.

How about the 1000 elements? At first glance we tend to see things as how they appear dark over a light background. In this case that would be small circles and something like rounded arrowheads between them. But looking at the image as negative, it is apparent that these arrowheads are just gaps between rings of flattened crop:

So instead of 499 circles and 499 arrowheads we have "just" 499 rings - plus of course the central circle, 10 narrow rings and one thick ring, making a total of 511 elements.