Want to try your hand at deciphering? This stone gives you a nice opportunity.
Not only did the ancients provide us with stones carved with figures, but they also interspersed veritable sky maps for us, carved on stone. The ancients created such maps not only by carving figures imagined "in the sky" onto the stone, but also by carving holes or "cupped" indentations in the stones, called cupules or cupmarks. Each hole or indentation represents a particular star. The relative sizes of the holes or indentations often mark the relative brightness (magnitude) of the stars being portrayed, but because of differing erosive and other forces, size can be a variable and is not always reliable.
Mainstream scholars "think" that such indentations or holes such as on the henge inward face of Avebury Stone #16 are "naturally caused" and are not man-made.
"Think" is not the right word for what the scholars up to now have done.
They presume that the holes are natural, but never check their own unproven presumptions. Merriam-Webster defines the word "presumption" inter alia as
"a belief that something is true even though it has not been proved".
As we show here, such markings on megaliths are often man-made, though of course one would expect that natural markings on stone were also used or integrated into carvings if they fit the astronomical picture being represented.
The henge inward face of Avebury Stone #16 is a good example of holes viz. indentations that were intentionally made by the ancients to represent stars.
Avebury Stone #16 Henge Inward Face - Photograph by Andis Kaulins
Avebury Stone #16 Henge Inward Face - Photograph Tracing
(we do our tracing using Paint Shop Pro 7 at magnifications up to 8x the normal image resolution, which reveals many more features than those seen easily by naked-eye observation -- feature selection is subjective)
Avebury Stone #16 Henge Inward Face Selection of Stars Above Virgo
A Star Field for Would-Be Decipherers
We know from previous decipherments of stones at Avebury that the henge inward face of a stone marks stars above those marked on the henge outward face. Since we have deciphered the henge outward face of Avebury Stone #16 to mark stars of Virgo, we know that the above inward face must mark stars above Virgo, but it is always an adventure to discover which stars those are.
Accordingly, we provide below an appropriate "star field" of stars above Virgo clipped via the astronomy software Starry Nigh Pro 3.1 (starrynight.com).
-- click the sky map graphic below to obtain a larger image --
This is your chance, would-be decipherers! You can test your own analytical and observational skills by trying to discover which stars from the above star field are marked on the henge inward face of Avebury Stone #16.
We have marked the most prominent circle of stars to give you a fair start, because that is our method of proceeding, by identifying one or two main features that appear to be certain and going from there, but be careful here, because our previous finding -- that most Avebury stone markings match the sky closely in terms of the true relative distances of stars -- does not work here, and that is the second decipherment hint. Form yes, distances no.
We provide our own "decipherment" of the henge inward face of Avebury Stone #16 further below, but if you do not look beyond the star field image above, you can try your own decipherment out before looking at our below solution. You might even try retracing the most prominent lines on the stone, fewer than we have, and your results may be even better. Try it out.
Avebury Stone #16 Henge Inward Face Decipherment As Shown by Identification of the Corresponding Stars
Looking left is a head at Boötes that is the horned head of an ox, which is the classical animal identity (ox, horn) assigned to Boötes in antiquity. See Richard Hinckly Allen, Star Names, Boötes, starting in that book at page 92.
The stars of Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, and Coma Berenices are otherwise all carved as birds, with Coma Berenices as a bird head extending clear across the stone, looking right.
One can also see that the ancients carved the entire stone as a human head, grimacing, that is looking left at Boötes with a kind of tassled hair bun to the right at Ursa Major. We already saw that grimace on the left side of the stone.
What made this particular decipherment difficult was the fact that the stone carvings do not keep the proportions of the sky but compress them narrower in breadth. We hope that remains an exception for other Avebury stones.
-- click on the graphic below to obtain a larger image --
We hope through this exercise to show how difficult it can be to reconstruct the manner in which the ancients carved these stones.
Moreover, you, the reader, already have a great advantage over normal decipherment work.
We have shown you which region of the sky of stars is involved and have given you a sure starting point in those stars.
Without such helpers, which is the normal situation, deciphering the henge inward face of Avebury Stone #16 would be extremely difficult and, indeed, it took us a long time to figure it out.