© Jon Appleton 2010 POINTING WITH STONES A New Solsticial Alignment at Avebury   Alignment 1 Alignment 2 Alignment 3 The avenue at Avebury is a winding path nearly two miles long, delineated by pairs of standing stones, which runs southward from the great stones of the southern  entrance to the henge. It’s in a shallow valley between Waden hill to the west and a ridge of hills, part of Avebury Downs, on the eastern side. The path makes its way down to the “Sanctuary” a ring of posts on a hilltop at the  southern extension of the ancient trackway known as the Ridgeway.  This runs out  to the N.E. along the crest of the downs back past Waylands Smithy and the  Uffington White Horse. The Sanctuary is close to the old Bath road, used by the  Romans , and now called the A4.   From this ancient ritual site there is a clear view to both the facade of the West  Kennet long barrow and the giant earth mound of Silbury Hill. A special place for  the builders of Avebury no doubt. It’s a nice walk up the avenue to approach the great stones of the enormous  village-engulfing henge from the south. Some years ago, as part of another  investigation, I became aware of the line of tumuli visible up along the ridge to  the east of the avenue. Nearly all of these mounds are crowned by clumps of  mature beech trees, probably planted to improve the landscape by Victorian  landowners. The trees draw one’s eyes to the sites of the ancient mounds. But in  one case, a very special one, there is a remaining, bare grassy tumulus. When I walked up to take a look at this anomaly something else drew my  attention. From ground level on the hill the western horizon is formed by the  smooth ridge of Waden Hill but as soon as you climb the last 6 or 7 feet to the top  of the mound the crest of the artificial mound of Silbury Hill comes into view.  And, of course, you become visible from Silbury. Somebody thousands of years  ago must have set this up. The compass bearing between Silbury and the mound is 49oN. So sunrises looking N.E. and sunsets looking S.W. at the Summer and Winter solstices would have  been marked by this line which also crosses the place where the Falkner circle  once stood in the valley near the henge. There’s work to be done about the  significance of that and the southern extension of the line to the tumuli on the  Wansdyke. Most of the stones delineating the avenue at its southern end  near the Sanctuary have been taken away in the more recent  historical past. However the end nearer to the henge has been  better preserved. Some of the stones have been re-erected in  their original postholes and the position of others marked by  low concrete slabs. This was mostly as a result of work by Alexander Keiller who  bought and partially restored the whole of the Avebury henge  site and village in the 1920’s.