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Avebury Henge 

Stone Circle, Avon

Full moon at Avebury
Tom Bullock
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Latest News: Archaeologists locate the remains of the 'lost' Beckampton Avenue.

The excavation, in August 1999 revealed the remains of six stone settings. These form an avenue that the excavators believe to be part of the 'Beckhampton Avenue' leading westwards from the henge, last recorded in the 1720s by the antiquarian William Stukeley. Continued on the  University of Southampton press release This work is part of the four year Negotiating Avebury Project, which includes virtual reality modelling of the stones.

As well as the main ~500m diameter circle there are the remains of two inner circular features, one of which may have been a horseshoe. Two Avenues (one now destroyed) connected to the circle. Much has been written about Avebury that I won't repeat here. I would especially recommend Prehistoric Avebury by Aubrey Burl and Michael Dames' book The Avebury Cycle, in which he discusses the relationship between the different features in the local landscape, including the local springs. He suggests these springs, such as the one at Swallowhead, between the West Kennet Barrow and Silbury Hill had special significance to the ancient inhabitants of the area.

Barry Cunliffe's Wessex to A.D. 1000 is useful in that it covers the background to all the monuments in this area, based on the many excavations.

Another interesting book is Places of Power by Paul Devereux, the second half of which covers Avebury. In the first part he gives his and others' theories on the significance of landscape on ancient man; from the Aborigines to those who left us so many similar myths, suggesting a deep-rooted source in the human subconscious. The Avebury half expands on his 1991 Antiquity Paper, 'Three-dimensional aspects of apparent relationships between natural and artificial features within the topography of the Avebury complex' (Antiquity 65: 894-8) In plain language that you can just see Silbury Hill from a small area inside the henge, a phenomenon we saw on our recent visit with Terence Meaden.

Aerial Photography made possible by JJ Evendon

Avebury village is well signposted. National Trust owned with full tourist facilities. Use the large car park.

aveburymap.gif (6296 bytes)

Click here for full page mapLocal Map (from Multimap) (use your browser's "back" button to come back)

Rating: General Impression 5, Ambience 3, Access 5

Personal: In Avebury village there is an excellent gift and book shop, with a comprehensive range of books from mainstream to esoteric. Don't miss the Alexander Keiller Museum, containing such amazing things as the winged ants on the turf excavated from the centre of Silbury Hill, suggesting construction was started in late July / early August. Stones Vegetarian Restaurant is not liked by everyone. The food was good but they have recently stopped doing the hot vegetarian main courses. Get in the queue early.

Tom Bullock's moonlit image above is quite the most extraordinary shot of Avebury I have ever seen. Look out for more pictures from Tom elsewhere on these pages.

Author Terence Meaden, author of controversial  books on Stonehenge and Avebury gave members of the Stones Mailing List a guided tour of Avebury in August 1999, just before the solar eclipse. Whatever you think of his theories, the following makes a fascinating audio tour of the Avebury complex.

Avebury Tour Part 1 (7'46")

Avebury Tour Part 2 (3'58")

realaudio.gif (1885 bytes)These clips use RealAudio, using the free player available for most systems. It should also play if you have a recent version of the Microsoft Media Player so give it a go. Why not start it playing and go off and explore...

freeplayer_g2.gif (966 bytes)

Pictures from the Summer '97 Moot held at Avebury

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