Jon Appleton

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Avebury

POINTING WITH STONES…

The avenue at Avebury is a winding path nearly two miles long, delineated by pairs of standing stones, which runs southward from the great stones of the southern entrance to the henge. It’s in a shallow valley between Waden hill to the west and a ridge of hills, part of Avebury Downs, on the eastern side.
The path makes its way down to the “Sanctuary” a ring of posts on a hilltop at the southern extension of the ancient trackway known as the Ridgeway. This runs out to the N.E. along the crest of the downs back past Waylands Smithy and the Uffington White Horse . The Sanctuary is close to the old Bath road, used by the Romans , and now called the A4.
Alignment 1
Most of the stones delineating the avenue at its southern end near the Sanctuary have been taken away in the more recent historical past. However the end nearer to the henge has been better preserved. Some of the stones have been re-erected in their original post holes and the position of others marked by low concrete slabs. This was mostly as a result of work by Alexander Keiller who bought and partially restored the whole of the Avebury henge site and village in the 1920’s.
Alignment 2
It’s a nice walk up the avenue to approach the great stones of the enormous village-engulfing henge from the south. Some years ago, as part of another investigation, I became aware of the line of tumuli visible up along the ridge to the east of the avenue. Nearly all of these mounds are crowned by clumps of mature beech trees, probably planted to improve the landscape by Victorian landowners. The trees draw one’s eyes to the sites of the ancient mounds. But in one case, a very special one, there is a remaining, bare grassy tumulus. When I walked up to take a look at this anomaly something else drew my attention. From ground level on the hill the western horizon is formed by the smooth ridge of Waden Hill but as soon as you climb the last 6 or 7 feet to the top of the mound the crest of the artificial mound of Silbury Hill comes into view.
And, of course, you become visible from Silbury. Somebody thousands of years ago must have set this up. The compass bearing between Silbury and the mound is 49oN. So sunrises looking N.E. and sunsets looking S.W. at the Summer and Winter solstices would have been marked by this line which also crosses the place where the Falkner circle once stood in the valley near the henge. There’s work to be done about the significance of that and the southern extension of the line to the tumuli on the Wansdyke
Alignment 3
Alignment 4
My interest in the bare mound was originally stimulated by another line of intervisibility between the mound across the north end of the avenue, over a barrow at Beckhampton and down to the barrow on Kingsplay hill and other significant ancient sites. This line when extended leads to the triple circles at
Alignment 5
However this particular piece is about my observation of the fact that the positioning of the pairs of stones across the Avebury avenue seems to relate to the location of this mound up on the eastern ridge. The arrangement of these stones demonstrates a way of reading alignments across stone circles in a different and more accurate way than the usually accepted one of simply lining up two stones. This method is capable of extreme accuracy as the line of closure between two uprights can be precise down to fractions of a degree.
How to view the alignment Experimenting with a pair of upright sticks in a field will confirm the simplicity and effectiveness of the system.
The drawing below here demonstrates the method.
Alignment 6
One sunny morning last year I went for a stroll up the avenue armed with my camera and took the pictures shown here. At this small scale the tumulus is only just visible and can be made out just to the left of the clump of trees on the horizon. In each case the mound is framed between the pairs of stones with the nearest stone being the left hand one. For a person with a dominant right eye this produces a natural way of sighting. For what it’s worth, in this case the framing is not tremendously tight and, although consistent, seems to leave room for a person to stand on the far side of the avenue in line with the distant mound. This is a ceremonial processional way not an astronomical sighting line.
Alignment 7
The other thing to note is that because the avenue is not straight and that as you pass along it the bearing of the mound changes the indicated lines of sight are not all at the same bearing but allow for these variations and consistently point to the mound. Also to make these sightings the ancient surveyors would have had to observe from a position on the western side of the western stones.
Alignment 8
Alignment 9
It’s interesting that my fairly cursory morning’s stroll produced nine alignments (shown here) from the ruined remainder of the ancient ceremonial trackway. I suspect that the complete and undisturbed original lines of stones would have given more sightlines. I took the last picture of the huge stone on the right of the south entrance to the henge to show that here also a line across the face of the stone reveals the bare mound on the horizon.
Finally I’m showing a picture of a couple of the people from a party of New Zealanders I met that day. I explained the alignments to them and also shared an experience I’d had at one of the stones in the S.W. quadrant of the henge. They are enjoying the reverberations produced by humming into a recess in the “Bee” stone. Of which more elsewhere and anon.
Use this Google map to explore Avebury.
How to view the alignment Experimenting with a pair of upright sticks in a field will confirm the simplicity and effectiveness of the system.
Click here for pictures of Swallowhead spring near Avebury
Click the audio play button above to hear what Jon wants you to do…

Jon Appleton

Click on the image above to fly down to the Sanctuary at Avebury.
Click on the image above to fly down to the start of the avenue at Avebury.
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From this ancient ritual site there is a clear view to both the facade of the West Kennet long barrow and the giant earth mound of Silbury Hill . A special place for the builders of Avebury no doubt.
Click on the image above to fly down to the Avenue at Avebury.
Megalithic Insights               						Jon Appleton

Jon Appleton

Continue
Click the audio play button above to hear Jon talk about his Avebury insights.
Back

Avebury

POINTING WITH STONES…

The avenue at Avebury is a winding path nearly two miles long, delineated by pairs of standing stones, which runs southward from the great stones of the southern entrance to the henge. It’s in a shallow valley between Waden hill to the west and a ridge of hills, part of Avebury Downs, on the eastern side.
The path makes its way down to the “Sanctuary” a ring of posts on a hilltop at the southern extension of the ancient trackway known as the Ridgeway. This runs out to the N.E. along the crest of the downs back past Waylands Smithy and the Uffington White Horse. The Sanctuary is close to the old Bath road, used by the Romans , and now called the A4. From this ancient ritual site there is a clear view to both the facade of the West Kennet long barrow and the giant earth mound of Silbury Hill. A special place for
Alignment 1
Most of the stones delineating the avenue at its southern end near the Sanctuary have been taken away in the more recent historical past. However the end nearer to the henge has been better preserved. Some of the stones have been re-erected in their original postholes and the position of others marked by low concrete slabs. This was mostly as a result of work by Alexander Keiller who bought and partially restored the whole of the Avebury henge site and village in the 1920’s.
Alignment 2
It’s a nice walk up the avenue to approach the great stones of the enormous village-engulfing henge from the south. Some years ago, as part of another investigation, I became aware of the line of tumuli visible up along the ridge to the east of the avenue. Nearly all of these mounds are crowned by clumps of mature beech trees, probably planted to improve the landscape by Victorian landowners. The trees draw one’s eyes to the sites of the ancient mounds. But in one case, a very special one, there is a remaining, bare grassy tumulus. When I walked up to take a look at this anomaly something else drew my attention. From ground level on the hill the western horizon is formed by the smooth ridge of Waden Hill but as soon as you climb the last 6 or 7 feet to the top of the mound the crest of the artificial mound of Silbury Hill comes into view. And, of course, you become visible from Silbury. Somebody thousands of years ago must have set this up.
The compass bearing between Silbury and the mound is 49oN. So sunrises looking N.E. and sunsets looking S.W. at the Summer and Winter solstices would have been marked by this line which also crosses the place where the Falkner circle once stood in the valley near the henge. There’s work to be done about the significance of that and the southern extension of the line to the tumuli on the Wansdyke
Alignment 3
Alignment 4
My interest in the bare mound was originally stimulated by another line of intervisibility between the mound across the north end of the avenue, over a barrow at Beckhampton and down to the barrow on Kingsplay hill and other significant ancient sites. This line when extended leads to the triple circles at
Alignment 5
However this particular piece is about my observation of the fact that the positioning of the pairs of stones across the Avebury avenue seems to relate to the location of this mound up on the eastern ridge. The arrangement of these stones demonstrates a way of reading alignments across stone circles in a different and more accurate way than the usually accepted one of simply lining up two stones. This method is capable of extreme accuracy as the line of closure between two uprights can be precise down to fractions of a degree.
How to view the alignment Experimenting with a pair of upright sticks in a field will confirm the simplicity and effectiveness of the system.
The drawing below here demonstrates the method.
Alignment 6
One sunny morning last year I went for a stroll up the avenue armed with my camera and took the pictures shown here. At this small scale the tumulus is only just visible and can be made out just to the left of the clump of trees on the horizon. In each case the mound is framed between the pairs of stones with the nearest stone being the left hand one. For a person with a dominant right eye this produces a natural way of sighting. For what it’s worth, in this case the framing is not tremendously tight and, although consistent, seems to leave room for a person to stand on the far side of the avenue in line with the distant mound. This is a ceremonial processional way not an astronomical sighting line.
The other thing to note is that because the avenue is not straight and that as you pass along it the bearing of the mound changes the indicated lines of sight are not all at the same bearing but allow for these variations and consistently point to the mound. Also to make these sightings the ancient surveyors would have had to observe from a position on the western side of the western stones.
Alignment 8
Alignment 9
It’s interesting that my fairly cursory morning’s stroll produced nine alignments (shown here) from the ruined remainder of the ancient ceremonial trackway. I suspect that the complete and undisturbed original lines of stones would have given more sightlines. I took the last picture of the huge stone on the right of the south entrance to the henge to show that here also a line across the face of the stone reveals the bare mound on the horizon.
Finally I’m showing a picture of a couple of the people from a party of New Zealanders I met that day. I explained the alignments to them and also shared an experience I’d had at one of the stones in the S.W. quadrant of the henge. They are enjoying the reverberations produced by humming into a recess in the “Bee” stone. Of which more elsewhere and anon.
Use this Google map to explore Avebury.
How to view the alignment Experimenting with a pair of upright sticks in a field will confirm the simplicity and effectiveness of the system.
Alignment 7
Click here for pictures of Swallowhead spring near Avebury
Click the audio play button above to hear what Jon wants you to do…
Click on the image above to fly down to the start of the avenue at Avebury.
Click on the image above to fly to the Sanctuary at Avebury.
Click on the image above to fly down to the Sanctuary at Avebury.
Megalithic Insights               						Jon Appleton