Avebury Neolithic Standing Stone Circle, England







The History of Avebury

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Avebury is the largest Neolithic Age stone circle and henge monument in the world. It surrounds the present day village of Avebury in Wiltshire, England. Built about 5000 years ago Avebury is part of en ensemble of burial mounds and henges, including Stonehenge, that spread out across the Downs of Wiltshire in southern England. These sites collectively are some of the most famous megaliths in the world and were inscribed together onto the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1986.

Avebury is surrounded by a Henge which is a circular ditch and bank. At Avebury the Henge is a formidable 21 metres (69 ft) wide and 11 metres (36 ft) deep and nealy 1200 meters (three-quarters of a mile) long. Dating from about 3300–2630 BC inside the henge are 3 stone circles. The outer dates from around 2900 BC and has a massive diameter of 331.6 metres (1,088 ft) with stones that vary from 3.6 to 4.2 m high (10 - 18ft).


Avebury Prehistoric Neolithic Age Stone Ring

From this henge runs the West Kennet Avenue which is an avenue of two parallel lines of stones 25m wide and 2.5 km in length. This leads to Silbury hill which is a man made neolithic monument 40 metres (131 ft) high[4] and covers about 5 acres (2 ha) which took an estimated took 18 million man-hours, or 500 men working for 15 years, to build. It is the same height as some of the smaller Egyptian pyramids.


Avebury is an incredible site and the amount of effort that went into its construction points to a well ordered sophisticated civilisation that could work together on this monumental projects. Add to this the complex of monuments around Stonehenge, which is only 20 miles ( 32KM) away, and the two sites point to a neolithic people that had a complex belief system that sadly has been lost to the historical record. Avebury is understood to be a sanctuary and its layout to modern eyes seem to indicate that it was a Holy place. The large amount of burial mounds around Avebury and Stonehenge show that these sites were the focal point for not only local Neolithic people, but for people that had travelled here from as far as Switzerland.


Avebury Prehistoric Neolithic Age Stone Ring

The stones at Avebury are not dressed and seem to have been chosen for their shape. Theories abound about their morphology and some academics have suggested that different stone sizes and shapes represent men and women.


Theories about the uses of all of the Neolithic sites of Britain are constantly evolving as new archaeological methods allow a deeper insight into how they were constructed. New finds around Stonehenge and in Orkney are opening up the neolithic archaeological record and seem to be pointing towards the importance of ancestor worship for these neolithic people. It has been suggested that Avebury was used for ancestor worship on a monumental scale.


The alignment of the sites also seem to point to stars like Deneb as well as sun alignments. Sadly we never actually know how the sites were used but the vast scale they were built on tells us that 5000 years ago Neolithic peoples were more sophisticated than they were once given credit for.

 

 

Where Is Avebury?


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Avebury Documentary

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