Why Numbers Are the Way Things Are!
Measurements of Time, Distance and Mass


Owen Picton

April 2019


This is how I believe our basic numbers evolved over time. In early times everything evolved around Nature and the environment. Early man had no exact knowledge of seasonal time occurrences. Realize that in early times man was not exact in his original calculations. This all happen over thousands of years. We now know that a year is 365 days long plus leap year every four years but this was not known thousands of years ago. Nothing fits exactly perfect which required slight adjustments such as leap year to make them fit. We also now know that the moon goes around the earth about 13 times a year. Different religions and cultures had an effect on what was used. We use a numbering system to the base 10. The early Egyptians used a numbering system to the base 12. The Babylonians used a numbering system to the base 60. Which came first? The base numbers used in counting evolved into numbers used in nature or numbers used in nature evolved into numbers used in counting. This all had an effect on what numbers we use today. Realize that my discussion on these numbers within this page is only my speculation. My ideas are based only on my reasoning and what I have found on the internet.

I believe the reason we have 360 degrees in a circle is that originally a circle represented the Circle of Life. Life would continually circle through the four seasons which in early times was estimated to take about 360 days or what we now call a year.Then they noticed that star locations also repeated about every 360 days.  For these reasons they divided a circle into 360 parts or what we call 360 days or 360 degrees. In olden times such as the time of the Babylonians, they used a numbering system to the base 60 which goes into 360. Notice almost every common number we use such as 6, 10, 12, 30, and 60 are dividable into 360. Many numbers used are based on combinations of numbers within 360 such as 180, 90,72,45, 30, 18,12,10, 4, 3 and 2.

I think having 10 fingers on our hands is also the reason that our number system evolved to base 10 and the reason we are not using systems based on a value in 360. The way we write numbers is important.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to do multiplication using Roman Numerals?

The oldest numbering system is believed to be the Egyptian numbering system to the base of 12. Some people believe that there daylight hours were setup to 10 hours plus an hour for the sun to rise and an hour for the sun to go down for a total of 12 hours. This fit there numbering system to the base 12. They had the working day divided into 12 parts and so they decided to do the same thing for night time making 24 parts or what we call 24 hours in a day. Over thousands of years the 12 hours during the day time, was divided into half with about 6  hours in the morning which became AM and about 6 hours in the afternoon which became PM. They also divided the night time into two 6 hour breaks. They preferred breaking the day at noon and midnight instead of morning and evening. They ended up with a 12 hour AM and a 12 hour PM for a total of 24 hours. I believe they took the 6 then divided the 360 by 6 and come up with 60 parts for an hour or making 60 in minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. Measuring minutes and seconds was not developed until they had clocks that could measure in that detail which was about the 15th century.

They defined years as the time it took the earth to travel from the shortest sun light day of the year to the next years shortest day (first they used 360 days before they realized it was really 365 days). The earths varied day length is the result of the earth having a slight tilt so that days varied in length creating the seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall. They then noticed when observing year endings in more detail over a time frame of about 72 years that the sky was off slightly and shifted by one degree out of 360 degrees over about a 72 year period.

The Romans came up with a calendar with the first one having 10 months but all others after that having 12 months.The moon repeated its journey about every 29 to 30 days. To make the moon cycle fit into the 360 day cycle they divided the year into 12 parts or to make it work, what we call 12 months of variable days in a month for a year.

The introduction of the Julian calendar was by Julius Caesar.  It had leap years not correctly used, so was off 11 minutes a year. It was used by the Romans all over Europe and became known as the Roman Calendar. Constantine made adjustments in about 325 AD by establishing the week which had 7 days (6 work days and one day for worship).  Another change by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in about 500 AD when he invented the use of AD/BC after a date, to establish a common standardized starting year date. Additionally, he established a date for Christmas by taking the then set day for the first day of Spring and adding 9 months to it making December 25th (conception and birth). The first day of Spring is now a different day. Pope Gregory XIII made leap year corrections to the Roman Calendar, introducing his Gregorian Calendar changes in1582.  This latest version Roman Calendar is the calendar now used by most of the world.

I believe a week was set up using the six as in the daylight hours in the morning as an example to have 6 days of work and one day of rest for a total of 7 days. I also think a 7 day week evolved because of how varies religions divided the week. A 7 day week is now used by about everyone in the world. The Egyptian week of 10 days was used when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. We have 10 fingers on our hands and I think this may be a reason the early people of Egypt had 10 days in a week.

The Zodiac was developed thousands of years ago because the sky was off, to measure the length of time in years that must pass before the stars in the heavens will repeat themselves. This is approximately 25,920 years (some use 26,000 years others use other differing numbers with debate on this for thousands of years). This was divided into 12 named ages of approximately 2160 years each.  There are 360 symbolic degrees in the entire Zodiac circle. An age such as Pisces is 30 degrees.  One degree was set to have a value of 66 years to 100 years in length depending on who was doing the measuring. The most common value for one degree is one degree equals 72 years. The number of years in a complete Zodiac cycle is estimated to be 25,920 (72 years times 360 degrees equals 25,920) years by most people, but this is still an approximation. The 360 degree change in 25,920 years means that the earth is either gaining or losing one years circle of the sun or 360 degrees or 365 earth days rotations of 24 hours each in this period of 25,920 years. Various things can cause the earths rotation to change slightly such as earthquakes,volcanoes, hurricanes and meteorites. The slight change on were the earth is oriented each year should have an effect on our yearly environment and weather.

Maybe one degree also represents the average length of 72 years of a human life time or 360 life times in an entire Zodiac circle. 1080 life times (round off to 1000) if a baby was born at a persons age of every 24 years over a period of 25,920 years.  Three times 24 equals 72 or one degree. So three times 360 degrees equals a rounded number of about 1000 life times or 1000 generations in a complete Zodiac cycle.

Man also decided to use these 360 parts to divided the earth into 360 degrees for navigation and also we even use it in GPS addresses.

This value of a number within the 360 cycle was carried over to weights and measures. Gold and Silver were the first things of value to be weighted in olden times.  We still say 12 ounces are in a pound of Gold or Silver, but I realize everything else is 16 ounces to a pound.

Measuring distance uses 12 inches to a foot, 36 inches to a yard and 3 feet to a yard. Here again numbers that go into 360. I do not know if this means anything but the unit of measure used by the builders of Stonehenge was the "long foot" and it was equal to 1.056 modern feet.

Over time we have had to include adjustments such as leap year to make all this work correctly.

I have been thinking about the reason for the Roman conquest of Briton.  Rome already had a large territory that was difficult to manage and Briton was an old country that would be difficult to control.  I think Rome looked at the natural resources of gold, silver and tin that Briton had and that is the reason they conquered Briton.

Stone head of a hammermill used by the Romans in a Gold Mine 2,000 years ago
Kathryn Picton


myself, my son David and Grandchildren Kathryn and Martha
visiting a 2,000 year old Roman Gold Mine in Wales


Kathryn, myself and Martha
at a 4,500 year old Welsh burial chamber
called Pentre Burial Chamber
near where our Picton ancestors came from
What did they use for measurements at that time?


Distant view of Picton Castle from Landshipping taken in 2015
See the water below the castle
Some of the stones for Stonehenge may have been shipped from these waters

Owen Picton
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Blair, Nebraska 68008
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Last Modified April 2019
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