Night Photography by David Baldwin




Twin Spirits Of Avebury And Their Dual Symbol

Just as the Christian people have their Crucifix, and the Jewish people have their Star Of David, I suggest that the Avebury peoples have left us their own fundamental religious symbol. I call this symbol the "Dual Symbol" - you can see this on several Avebury monoliths, we are looking for a coherent paired symbol, comprising a large, blocky, probably male human profile, counterbalanced by a smaller, pointed/beaked face looking in the opposite direction:

Of course the details vary according to individual iterations of the symbol on different monoliths, but the repeated basic themes of the "block" and "beaked" faces show their importance to Avebury's neolithic religion. Their dual symbol first appears inside West Kennet Long barrow:

The Founding Image - Stone 21 Inside West Kennet Long Barrow

I believe that many of Avebury's carvings at the main Henge and Avenue were based on the earlier examples still on display at West Kennet Long Barrow, a stunning monument created by the Windmill Hill people more than five and a half thousand years ago. Inside the barrow's main chamber, at the extreme west end, stands Stone 21. This stone is crucial because the theme clearly on display here is of opposed larger human profile juxtaposed with a smaller, pointed face looking in the opposite direction - this is the first dual symbol I know of. Here is a sketch of this stone, based on Professor Meaden's drawing on p104 of his "Secrets" book, however I have added the details of the right profiled face myself:

Below I show photographs of the left and right profiled faces on this stone, click on these to open larger versions:


I believe that this dual theme was reproduced on several Avebury stones in later times as you will see from the images A to D below. The only obvious changes in the design over time was that in the hands of the later Beaker people the animal face of our Stone 21 evolved into a shaper, beakier icon without the open mouth.

Horizontal Pairings On Diamond Stones

Down at Avebury Henge and the Avenue the most striking pairings of the beaked and block faces occurs particularly on diamond or lozenge shaped monoliths. The diamond or lozenge is itself a common motif at Avebury, probably representing sacred feminimity (Meaden, p4 of "Secrets"). The diamond shape was applied to the Swindon Diamond Stone and Stone 13b, producing clear corners capable of being carved with horizontally opposed beaked and block faces, channeling the religious pairing of faces on the West Kennet Barrow's Stone 21 described above. For reference the basic outline of the two diamond monoliths is as follows, Swindon Diamond to the left, 13b to the right:


These two diamond stones were labouriously and skillfully carved in neolithic times to display their distinctive block and beaked carvings on their left and right profiles.   The similarity of placement and sculptural style of the carvings on these elevations is very striking, and clearly not paradolic. You can see the paired carvings on the thumbnails below, click on these to open large versions, figures A and B relate to the Swindon Diamond, figures C and D to Stone 13b:




There is a striking example on Stone 34a of the West Kennet Avenue (image below), which displays an upraised left profiled block face (with a button nose and sharp chin) countered by a right profiled horizontal beaked face with distinctive eye (for a close up view of the beaked face please click here). The block face gazes south, the beaked north:

This monolith has an astounding stylised twin in the form of the main henge's
Stone 34 (shown right in the comparison image immediately below), notice the right facing eyes and ear circles on both monuments, also the incredibly similar perimeter shape, this is no mere rorschach effect, no way! This is skillful sculpture, artists shaped these monoliths:


Stone 34a, West Kennet Avenue

Stone 34, North-Western Quadrant



Other Possible Examples Of Paired Beaked And Block Faces - Henge Stone 12 and West Kennet Long Barrow Stone 45


Of these possible examples the most exciting, if proven, would be that of Stone 45. 45 was set up later in the Neolithic in order to block the barrow's entrance. However, if it were the case that Stone 45 itself was (admittedly crudely) shaped to represent the (then) newly hidden interior Stone 21 discussed above, then this would be confirmation that the intention of blocking up the barrow was not to eradicate/abandon the old religion and its dual symbolism. The older dual symbol inside the barrow had effectively been glorified and projected out into the light of day to be worshipped in its new form, the highly prominent Stone 45! This would have been a significant promotion of the dual symbol, proof that the original Windmill Hill religion survived into much later times. This would be a massive finding! Below I set out a diagram showing how the interior Stone 21 motif was projected outside onto Stone 45:

There may also be other variations of the dual theme, often with the human face represented by a horizontally gazing curvy "D" shaped face opposite the sharp angular one. An example of this variation might be Stone 102 (photo here):

A similar configuration may be glimpsed on Stone 98. Below is a basic diagram showing the north facing side of this monolith. On this diagram the beaked face appears represented only by its profile, but on the reverse side is a clear eye which was created with round mauls (photo here):

There is an interesting animal dual symbol on Stone 44 (photo here). Below is a diagram of this:

Even the famous Barber Stone hosts a dual symbol:

Finally, there is a dual symbol displayed on the northernmost side of Stone 31. You can see the horizontal left profiled face here. I haven't yet photographed the larger upward looking face with its chin to the west, surmounted with a distinctive pointy nose, and animated with a large eye.