Night Photography by David Baldwin
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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 look at some archaeological texts on the British Neolithic you would be forgiven for thinking that there are no carved or selected artworks at Avebury, and that the meaning of the site is necessarily lost forever. This is sad because, with a little close attention, it is clear that Avebury contains the most beautiful and informative carvings, statues and symbols. These give us profound insights into the minds of those who lived in Wiltshire in the distant past, and help to explain the overall intention behind the sacred landscape they worked so labouriously to create. I invite you to look at my photographs, then if you wish to learn more about Avebury, the monoliths and their art I particularly recommend Meaden's and Pattison's books which I list in my site bibliography [for details click here].

My intention in making the images and notes on this site is both 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 surprised myself by making, I believe, one or two small but real archaeological discoveries amongst the stones, a process aided by photographing at night
[for details click here].

Looking at 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, and there are more of these than had been previously appreciated - demonstrating that such zenith-seekers
may well be a key Avebury motif [for details click here]. Notably also I have discovered for myself that a good proportion of extant stones in the West Kennet Avenue include faces that look upwards at an angle, broadly towards the sourthern sky where the meridian crosses the celestial equator. As the first to identify that these stones in fact share this basic design I call this family of faces "equator-seekers" [for details click here and please see point 08].

Another prevalent class of Avebury figures are the several stone hares on display, presumably representing fertility and the creative force in nature. Its highly speculative on my part, but it is even possible that the hare was the badge of the original Avebury tribe (descended from the Windmill Hill people who started but may have not survived long enough to completely finish building Avebury). Perhaps they called themselves "The Hare People" in whatever language they spoke
[for details of the sacred hares click here]. The Beaker people who replaced them and possibly finished Avebury, may well have used a different name, a different totem or tribal symbol.

I speculate there was a long-lost religious ceremony linking Silbury Hill to the Orion stars [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.