Friday, November 13, 2020

Avebury, Wiltshire

Humans and other animals

Another of the incidental joys of Avebury, ignored by many visitors, or at least taken in with a rapid glance, is this dovecote. It is not the first dovecote I’ve posted in the long history of this blog, which is in part here to celebrate buildings that are out of the ordinary run of domestic, religious, or industrial architecture (although there’s plenty of all that here too). I particularly like many dovecotes because they are round – a shape that’s visually pleasing but also well suited to an internal design in which a central post carries a ladder that can be rotated so that one can reach any one of the hundreds of nest boxes inside.

Like the museum in my previous post and the stones in Avebury’s great prehistoric circle, this building is made of sarsen stone, with a couple of details in brick. This helps this out of the ordinary structure belong in its grassy spot among a collection of buildings, including the wooden barn that houses one of Avebury’s two museum spaces and the stone stables now occupied by the other museum. Stables, barns, dovecotes: this corner of Avebury would once have been home to a variety of creatures. Now the human animal – behaving in an admirably civilized manner when we were there – is the most usual living thing, its English variety frequently in search of coffee or tea.

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