Silbury Springs, The Avebury Book, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Fortean Times ARCHAEOLOGY WRITING MUSIC  
Archaeoacoustics, Oramics, Overtone Singing, Bilocation, Surround Sound, John Michell, Patrick Harpur, Alternative 3, Raspberry Parade, Hinyanja
Much of my life has been devoted to music. After a long career as a professional musician and composer I now spend my time researching and photographing the Avebury landscape and monuments close to my home in Wiltshire. I also write on archaeology for journals and magazines.

Most recently I have been exploring the connection between the siting of prehistoric monuments and moving water; I have visited and recorded over fifty springs within a five mile radius of the Avebury Henge. During the winter of 2012-13 when water levels were unusually high I made significant discoveries around Avebury - notably that the great ditch surrounding Silbury Hill is lined with springs that supply most of its water. The springs had never been seen before. An account of my winter's fieldwork was published in British Archaeology No 131 July/August 2013: SILBURY SPRING

Could some prehistoric 'ritual flint knives' have been used for producing sound?

In a 2007 experiment, a range of musical sounds were played from the top of Silbury Hill. The public were invited to report on what they could hear from different positions in the surrounding area. I recorded some significant natural echoes in the Silbury Meadow, which may be played as a sound file.

Building a simple life-sized model has demonstrated that the cove's four stones would have reflected out sounds made within the structure. To a listener outside the cove this would present the illusion of one of the stones 'speaking'.

Twice yearly, around the time of the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the rising sun sends a ray of light into this 5,650 year-old monument near Avebury. Click on the picture below to see a sequence of photographs of the September 2013 event on YouTube.

Above: Silbury's western ditch in January 2013. Water from springs surrounding the ditch has melted through the snow.
Text & images Copyright Steve Marshall 2013. All rights reserved