Night Photography by David Baldwin



The Three Ladies Of Stone 35a, West Kennet Avenue

Stone 35a in the West Kennet Avenue is most famous for the grinning "shark" face which is almost certainly pareidolic (
click here to view). However this monolith should equally be known for the three carved ladies shown below (click on the thumbnails to view larger versions:


Lady A

Lady B

Lady C


Lady A is the most obvious, if the light is right you can see her clearly even from a moving car from the road. I believe she is facing the rising sun, singing to him. Lady B partners her, also looking to the east, mouth open in praise. Unlike Lady A, Lady B is very hard to find being smaller in scale with finely chipped detailing (I believe that this face is an original discovery by me, I have never seen a reference to her anywhere else).

Lady C is entirely different, for one thing she looks north without an obvious mouth. Her eye is vey clear, and she has a spectacular "beehive" hairdo or headress. This latter claim sounds fanciful at first, but she is not the only Avebury statue with an adorned head, the "priestess" carving on Stone 98 may well sport an elaborate headress or ceremonial coiffure (click here and scroll down to Figure I for details), also the large right profiled face on Stone 26a appears to wear a cap (view here). Lady C appears to gaze northwards up the Avenue, towards the (hidden) main Henge. I wonder if she is looking for approaching human or spiritual processions moving southwards destined for the proposed (and possibly spiritually liminal) North Kennet Spring (Marshall, pp99-100) or to the mysterious Sanctuary?

One striking feature of Lady C is the effect of light on her eye. If the Avenue was used for night time processions each participant's torch on approach may have lit the eye socket and given it life (as in the thumbnail above), but moving on the flickering light may have cast the socket into shadow (
click here). This may have caused a thematic/religious fluctuation, an alternating view of the face in life, cycling with the same face as a deathshead.

I do wonder if Lady C represents a portrait of a particular priestess, or perhaps the Great Goddess herself? If the latter that would certainly explain her close association with her two female companions, Ladies A and B, both choristers singing each morning to praise the eastern arrival of the Goddess' husband, the Sun.