|I know any definitive theory about the purpose of Silbury Hill will be contraversial but I've just come back from a weekend staying in Avebury where I bought a book called "The Mystery Of Silbury Hill - Why Was It Built?" By Lothar Respondek. It's explaination of why the great mound was built makes perfect sense to me and I can't beleive after years of being interested in our most enigmatic monument I have never heard this theory before. It is only around 60 pages long and more like a booklet but is well written, excellently argued with supporting geological, archeaological and climatic evidence.|
I found it in the henge shop in Avebury and thought it would be another one of the dubious 'pagan/spiritual' titles raving about ley lines and the mother godess like the "The Silbury Treasue" by Michael Dames which I found frankly unreadable and unbelieveable.
Basically the theory of this book is that the climate was becoming drier during the neolithic and that by around 2400 bc there were long periods of drought and water was in short supply. The area had been usually marshy and often waterlogged. But the people would have noticed this receding. Water doesn't drain off chalk but perculates through appearing months later from springs. The springs around Silbury and the river kennett were dry for large periods of the year and neolithic man had to act in order to survive.
The site where silbury hill now stands was a marshy wooded area in the neolithic where a number of springs (Swallowhead, Silbury, Waden Hill, Firtree and Backhampton, only Swallowhead is marked on the OS map) converged. Obviously this area would retain water better than other places and the neolithic people knew this.
Silbury hill was the by product of digging ditches down to the water table to create a resevoir to access the life giving water for the large (relatively) numbers of people and animals living on the chalk downs in the area . The
first phase of silbury hill was the excavation of earth being heaped into a 1 meter tall mound with a diameter of 20 meters. It was fenced by wattle and daub to prevent slippage back into the ditch during wet or waterlogged periods. the second and third phases can be explained by the continued residing of the water table creating the need for deeper quarrying to acces the receding water. The final phase of chalk blocks and turfing was neccessary to encase the mound and prevent slippage.
I'm astonished that this theory isn't at least well known let alone being the accepted explanation. In my mind this doesn't dimish the sacredness or impressiveness of the monument as we accept that the practical and ritual world was one and the same in the neolithic and bronze age and the hill was literally what had saved the people from extinction. They would have been unable to understand why the waters were disappearing and the civil engineering project of rectifying this would have held immense spiritual importance linked whith life and death.
Various authors/photographs have demonstrated the fact that silbury hill is often surrounded by water but that the fact that it collects the most essential element for human life has either been seen as a coincidence or by Dames that it is to create some dubious representation of the mother godess only to be appreciated by some sky god aka the Nazca lines!
I'm sure some regular contributors/readers of TMA must have read this book or come across this theory. Apologies if this is old news or previously discussed here before but despite trying to digest every bit of silbury info I can I had never heard this and would want to be aware of it.
I would be keen to hear anyone's thoughts.
Reply | with quote
|Posted by Gwass|
4th May 2009ce
Silbury Hill - Most Plausible Explanation Yet (Gwass, May 04, 2009, 20:15)
- Re: Silbury Hill - Most Plausible Explanation Yet (megadread, May 04, 2009, 20:35)
- Re: Silbury Hill - Most Plausible Explanation Yet (tjj, May 04, 2009, 20:45)
- Re: Silbury Hill - Most Plausible Explanation Yet (megadread, May 04, 2009, 22:47)
- Inspector Knackers replies (Stoneshifter, May 05, 2009, 10:42)
- Re: Silbury Hill - Most Plausible Explanation Yet (Rhiannon, May 05, 2009, 11:27)
- Re: Silbury Hill - Most Plausible Explanation Yet (nix, May 05, 2009, 22:56)