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The Avebury Cycle Paperback – June 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 2nd edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500278865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500278864
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,471,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By O'Malley on June 22, 2011
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Dames makes a strong case that Avebury Circle, Silbury Hill, West Kennet Barrow - and numerous other late Neolithic sites in the Avebury area are all part of a grand design celebrating the annual cycle of birth and death so prevalent in agricultural societies both past and present. He also shows that, while not literate, these people were highly numerate and this shows up in the sizing and placement of the various structures. While one can never prove such ideas completely, this is a well researched exposition looking into the role of the (White) Goddess in early British culture. I didn't find it "New Agey", but rather, "archaeology-plus", or well-directed anthropology.
Apparently some people are uncomfortable with anything more than the hard cold facts. But intelligence requires we order these facts into some kind of working hypothesis. Dames book builds on the work of many, many other experts and synthesizes them into a believable and compelling order. Anyone looking for a more comprehensive view of what the society that created these amazing, durable Neolithic structures valued and believed will gain much from this work. You don't have to buy his hypothesis 100% to learn a great deal. Highly recommended.
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By L. Llewellyn on September 3, 2012
This book expands further upon many of the points put forward in Michael Dames' first book, The Silbury Treasure. It carries on the theme of the Goddess symbolism of the Neolithic age being behind the ancient constructions found at Avebury. As the first book focussed on Silbury Hill, this book takes in the entire Avebury landscape and associated man-made monuments, such as the famous Avebury Henge (the largest in Europe) and West Kennet Long Barrow. The main thesis of this book, as the name suggests, is that there was a cycle of activity, in harmony with nature, that caused a beautiful and extremely well-thought-out interconnection between all of these man-made monuments and the surrounding landscape. As in the Silbury book, there is a great emphasis on the idea that ancient man had a sense of the unity between the spiritual and the physical, between the outer and the inner, which people living in the modern world have for the most part completely abandoned for a disturbingly more dualistic view of the world. The ancients, as Mr. Dames eloquently argues, did not see themselves as merely connected to nature, their divine mother - they saw themselves and her as an indivisible unity.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on April 27, 2003
Let's be fair - a New Age book is a fun read. Bold assertions, sweeping pronouncements, assumptions offered grounded on faith grip the reader's attention. Such confidence must have some underlying justification, right? New Age books have one great virtue. They challenge "established" thinking with intriguing questions demanding valid answers. Dames' book fits well into the genre. It's an entertaining venture, filled with interesting ideas, vivid illustrations and based on the idea that remnants of the Neolithic world remain a part of modern life.
The photograph of John Barleycorn celebrants on page 17 sets both the theme and the tone of this book. Why, asks Dames, is this bunch of rummies wearing those outlandish costumes, sloshed beyond reason, tunelessly singing some arcane melody? Dames uses this image as a launching site to examine ancient rituals and explain their origins. His focus is evidence derived from various burial sites and henge monuments. For him, all these are indications of the dominance of the Hag Goddess supposedly prevalent in many Neolithic cultures. Stone shape and placement, relative positions, accumulated debris and other evidence all points to a society dominated by rituals honouring the Earth Mother.
Dames doesn't just propose the Earth Goddess as the basis for Neolithic structures of widely varying design, he simply assumes it at the outset. From that start he's able to dovetail an overwhelming number of graves, skeletal postures, barrow shape, location and orientation into his thesis. Even the watercourses of the local streams have ritual significance. He puts each artefact or other element before you with such confidence and enthusiasm, it's hard to resist.
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