Silbury Hill (October 2016)       

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Silbury Hill

This highly enigmatic artificial mountain is the largest man-made mound in Europe. According to Burl it was built out of 35 million basket loads of rubble!   Clearly this was an immense project of profound significance to its (exhausted) builders, and looking at the size of the hill it is not difficult to appreciate the large numbers of people who must have worked on its construction. Avebury was a busy place! The hill contains no tomb or hidden chambers, and its purpose has been difficult to establish.   An excellent general book on Silbury is English Heritage's "The Story Of Silbury Hill" written by Jim Leary and David Field in 2010.

Dames' View
Arguably some light on the true nature of Silbury has been cast by Michael Dames in his book "Silbury - Resolving The Enigma" published by The History Press also in 2010. Dames emphasizes that Silbury sits in a flat ditch area whose carefully laid out and stylized outline can be seen to represent a female figure - the Neolithic Great Goddess. I have personally seen much of this outline from the top of the neighbouring Waden Hill. What seems to me to lend credence to Dames' interpretation is that the massive Silbury Hill sits exactly over the ditch figure's stomach, representing an enormous pregnancy. Avebury as a site is concerned with birth and resurrection, especially easy to see this at the nearby West Kennet Long Barrow where the Goddess is shown lying in plan with a large centrally placed east facing Yoni symbol awaiting fertilization by the sun's morning rays.   A large representation of the pregnant Great Goddess at neighbouring Silbury would be highly consistent with this theme.




Wakefield's' View
J D Wakefield in his astonishing book "Legendary Landscapes - Secrets Of Ancient Wiltshire Revealed" relates Silbury to an even more amazing image of the Goddess. He sets out aerial photographs of the water meadow to the north of the Hill, photographs showing an ancient system of ditches tracing out the image of an enormous woman (see figure 1). His thesis is that the winter flooding of these ditches reveals the outline of the Hag, the personification of the Great Goddess in her bleakest aspect, perhaps intended to be viewed from nearby Waden Hill. He points out this image of the Hag is replicated in a carved flint found at nearby West Kennet Long Barrow (see figure 2).



Figure 1

Figure 2




John Drews' View
Drews regards Silbury and Waden Hills, viewed from the Wandsdyke, as a gigantic representation of a reclining figure, Silbury the head, and Waden the long body (see his book, Part 7 commencing page 69). Here is my rough diagram based on his photograph of the Silbury figure (page 70):



He believes that this configuration of hills was intended to replicate what the neolithic people saw as a naturally occuring landscape figure lying in the next valley. This natural figure comprised Pecked (aka Picked) and Woodborough Hills, as seen from Knap Hill. I really like this explanation, particularly as Knapp Hill itself can be interpreted as being the pregnant belly of an additional landscape figure, the Alton Barnes Goddess (see my note on her here).

If Drews is right, Avebury boasts two enormous reclining figures, those based on Silbury and Woodborough Hills, if you add to these the Alton Barnes Goddess you have a grand total of three sacred Goddesses south of Avebury's main henges! Yet again we meet the number 3, Avebury's perpetually recurring number reference to the Great Goddess in her guise of Maiden, Mother and Wise Woman (See Meaden, page 4 of his Secrets book for an explanation why 3 was seen in this way).




My Own View
I believe that Silbury was designed to venerate Orion's three Belt stars, click here for details.



Image copyright David Baldwin Night Photography