Night Photography by David Baldwin



Recursive Faces At Avebury


Looking at the Avebury monoliths I was surprised to repeatedly see something very unexpected and curious. I found profile faces which appeared to be based around tandem sets of eyes, either natural or carved. These appeared to represent duplicate sets of eyes typically sharing the same profile foreheads, noses and mouths. It was if two faces were superimposed at different scales. Figure 1 shows a set of recursive eyes as they appear on the north-eash point of the famous Swindon Diamond Stone. The spiritual significance of this sculptural duality is unclear to me, perhaps the intention was cartesian or represented a spiritual companion to the main character?

figure 1


Naturally Occuring "Eyes"

Some recursive faces appear based on "eyes" which are natural dot or slit like features occuring on the sarsens. These found lithic features might then have been artistically incorporated into a larger sacred face by neolithic artists carving the surrounding sarsen to provide the missing and thematically necessary nose/mouth profiles. Figure 2 below shows a possible example on the remaining stone of the Beckhampton Cove:


figure 2


Completely Artificial Eyes

Other faces showing recursive features are clearly entirely artificial. For example notice the double sets of eyes carved onto the profile face shown in figure 3 (the totemic hare sculpture on Stone 103). Either the upper eyeslit is an abortive first attempt by the sculptor, or else is an ethereal and recursive companion to the more emphatic eye set carved underneath it:

figure 3


Other Examples Of Recursive Faces At Avebury

On the western face of Cove Stone II (figure 4 below):  

 figure 4

On the eastern face of Stone 13b (figure 5 below):

figure 5 

Possibly also on Stone 29a (figure 6 below)

figure 6


Stone 34a may also be recursive, please click here to see this