Saturday, 5 February 2011

Avebury Stone Circle

Some more pics including original of Avebury Stone Circle. Boy I hope this works. I don't seem to be able to upload the pictures any more to photique. So am going back to trying it this way by email. Brilliant - guess I will keep to doing it this way. As I said it is impossible to get the whole of the stone circle in one. It covers quite a lot of ground and there are two roads that pass through it.

1 comment:

moo said...

Val asked for some info on Avebury stone circle:

It is near Marlborough, Wiltshire in the West of England. Sort of South East of Wales if that is any help to you.

The Avebury ring a spiritual place and the oldest stone ring known to be in existence anywhere in the world

One reason Avebury is so striking is its accessibility. The site is wonderfully open, in fact, you may think it is a bit too open as you carefully scrape sheep droppings off your shoes! Be warned, sheep wander through the fields and leave reminders of their presence everywhere. But aside from accessibility, Avebury is unique in that the village of Avebury lies partly within the henge, or outer circle of stones, and a road splits the circle.

The main Avebury stone circle is roughly a quarter mile across, enclosing an area of about 28 acres, and it contains two smaller circles within it.

There is an avenue of stones leading away from the circle towards Overton Hill a mile and a half away, and it has been speculated by some archaeologists that the avenue was constructed to form the body of a snake, with the circle as the snake's head. The avenue stones alternate from tall and thin to broad and trapezoidal, leading to more speculation that they represent males and females respectively.

There is a very steep ditch and bank surrounding the stone circle. Excavation shows that the ditch was originally about 30 feet deep, with the bank an equal height. Do your math - that makes for a 60 foot tall barrier!

Avebury probably served as a religious and ceremonial centre, though what those beliefs or ceremonies were we do not know. We also don't know quite when the site was built, though the current best guess (subject to change at a moment's notice, it seems) is that it was begun in about 3000 BC.

Alexander Keiller, (heir to the marmalade dynasty of the Keiller family) performed most of the excavations at Avebury, and his work is profiled in the fine museum named after him which you will find in Avebury village. Much of the village and the circle itself are under the care of the National Trust, and they also run Avebury Manor. There is a rural museum and gift and tea shops in the village.

Avebury forms only one of numerous ancient sites in the neighborhood. Just a few miles away is the strange conical mound of Silbury Hill, across the road from West Kennet Long Barrow. In the other direction is Windmill Hill causewayed camp, the finest hilltop camp in England. All in all, Avebury and its surroundings make for an incomparable day out exploring Britain's ancient past.