I get wonderful emails from readers of The Memory Code. One of them not only talked about one of my favourite places in the world – Avebury Henge in Wiltshire – but included the best photos I have ever seen of these stunning stones. What I love is the way David Baldwin’s photographs show how different each stone is from the next and how perfect they would be to provide a set of distinct locations to encode information.
David talks about ideas that the Neolithic builders of Avebury may have altered the stones, which would be totally logical if you accept my ideas that the stones act as memory locations encoded with pragmatic information. That doesn’t mean that I agree that such alterations have been made. I don’t have the skills to judge and will leave the debate to the experts. But it is interesting to consider this possibility while you look at stunning photographs of the magnificent stones.
The set of beautifully high resolution photos can be found at http://www.nightfolio.co.uk/avebury_sacred_landscape.html
I live in the UK near Avebury, and I am about a third of the way through a personal photographic exploration of the site at night.
To help me with this I have read as many books as possible about Avebury, and I often think of yours, The Memory Code, as I examine the megaliths. As I am sure you know, there is a good deal of controversy as to whether the Avebury stones have been edited by our ancestors, in particularly whether there are faces in the stones. My own position is that there are clearly lots of natural shapes that resemble faces, but that there are also clearly artificially shaped stones. I am not an archaeologist, but I feel that I do have skills in recognizing patterns, so that a good deal of my photographs have the faces as subject matter.
As a lay person it seems to me that the idea that the stones have been subtly carved to record various mythological figures fits in really well with your ideas that the ceremonial landscape was encoded with tribal knowledge. Not only where there ceremonial areas with exclusive access, but as Professor Terence Meaden has pointed out many of the stone faces themselves may only have been known to initiates, another form of exclusivity.
The idea that the stones have been altered isn’t academic orthodoxy (in fact it is a little toxic I think, for example, archaeologist Aubrey Burl in his Yale book suggests that you need to be drunk to see them.
David has commented on this topic on his website towards the bottom of the page here: http://www.nightfolio.co.uk/night_photography_avebury/Avebury%20Quotations.htm
He considers Professor Meaden the authority, in particular in Meaden’s book, The Secrets of the Avebury Stones.
Meaden has been reviewing the stones for around 30 years I believe, and I see my photographs as following in his footsteps, although unlike him my motivation is mainly artistic!
Anyway, thank you for your book and may I please invite you to visit my Avebury gallery, which is a work in progress: