Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Another Centre Of The Universe

Silbury Hill really is a mystery. They've recently completed a dig which established that it was built in three stages- over a period corresponding to a long lifetime- but they're still no closer to establishing what it's for- or how it relates to the rest of Avebury's neolithic landscape. 

Michael Dames- whose books first got me interested in Avebury- argues that the hill represents the pregnant belly of the Mother Goddess. His work is unscholarly and largely discredited now, but his guess remains as good as any.  Maybe it's a centotaph (we can rule out burial mound because there's nothing buried there) or a ritual platform or an observatory or merely an extravagant piece of self-assertion by some forgotten tribal warlord-  "Gaze on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

Looking again at these photographs, I'm struck by how anomalous it is.  A smooth-sided hill rising out of a valley bottom- it doesn't fit; it's against Nature. It's as if some gigantic child with a bucket and spade had just dumped it there. 

It's made of chalk. In its original state- like the ditch and walls of Avebury- it would have gleamed an unearthy white.

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