Night Photography by David Baldwin
General Night Notes

Night Web Links

Contact Me

 


Avebury Project


Stone Age City Defined By Its Sacred Landscape And Sarsen Sculptures

A personal project dedicated to archaelogists Keiller and Meaden, scholars who have done so much to reconstruct and revive the great glory of Avebury. All errors and omissions on this site, however, are my own.

Welcome to my Avebury Gallery. If you read some archaeological texts on the British Neolithic you might be forgiven for believing that we can only ever have, at best, a shallow understanding of Avebury's purpose and use. Prima facie the lack of written records from this incredibly remote period justifies such pessimism. However, more positive and observant researchers have suggested we can learn much by finding and interpreting the visual symbols encoded into, and often carved upon, the monuments. I believe that over the coming decades digital surveys of Avebury will confirm the validity of this approach. This process of validation has already started at nearby Stonehenge with the digital confirmation that there are ancient carvings depicting axes carved on the stones there. For now however Avebury must be content with eyeball and camera surveys such as those of Meaden, Pattison, and in a very small way, here, myself.

Beware of sceptics who will cheerfully and with utmost confidence tell you that there were no ancient artworks displayed at Avebury, they claim all the faces and symbols are illusory, accidental, mere pareidolia. This is a sadly impoverished view, the truth is that Avebury's creators achieved the animistic results they wanted by combining both paradolic and wholly artificial effects. Avebury's sacred artworks range from the immense pile of Silbury Hill, down to the smallest rock carving - Avebury doesn't just proclaim her glory loudly, she whispers her wisdom also. To be sure, there are many simulacra at the site, but these were often deliberately selected (so in themselves are worthy of study), and these natural faces and symbols certainly exist side by side with large numbers of deliberately carved artworks. Avebury is an outdoor art gallery of unparalleled beauty and depth, its art and symbolism appropriate for what was clearly the capital city of neolithic Britain and its premier centre of pilgrimage, at least until its eventual eclipse by Stonehenge.

In making this site I wanted to develop my own subjective vision of Avebury, and to encourage visitors to look a little harder at those apparently artless chunks of stone themselves. During this project I have made new discoveries of my own
[for details click here].

Turning to my images you can clearly see sculptures of supernatural figures, also women, men, the dead and beasts, but I have been particularly struck by the number of carved stone faces throughout the site that look up direct into the sky, more than I believe had been recognised before
[for details click here]. I have also discovered for myself that many stones in the West Kennet Avenue include faces that look south upwards at an angle. I call this family of faces "equator-seekers" [for details click here and please see point 08].

There are several stone hares on display, presumably representing fertility and the creative force in nature. I believe it is possible that the hare was the badge of the original "Windmill Hill" tribe that started but did not survive to finish Avebury. Perhaps these Windmill Hill People called themselves "The Tribe Of The Hare" in whatever language they spoke
[for details of the sacred hares click here].

I speculate that Orion was seen as representing the Great Goddess [for details click here] and as such she was venerated by the performance of a long lost spring ceremony at Silbury Hill [for details click here].


           

Key:  Avebury Henge = Light Purple,  West Kennet Avenue = Green,  Beckhampton Avenue = Yellow,
West Kennet Long Barrow = Blue,  Silbury Hill = Pink

My son Joshua's comment, looking at the images above was "Kind of funny that in the background of those is me being cold somewhere." (27/11/2020).  Joshua kindly accompanied me for the Avebury shoots which meant I had to keep less of a lookout than usual for other inhabitants of the night.  For one of the photographs at least we were shadowed by someone mentally or narcotically challenged who insisted on serenading us with random squawking noises.   Other times we were surrounded by amorous cows whose activities kept threatening to overthrow my lighting stand.