While in Wiltshire earlier this month, I stayed in the village of Avebury, which lies within the world’s largest megalithic stone circle, and is about a mile north of Silbury Hill (see previous post at Exploring-the-barrow-downs-of-wessex
Constructed over several hundred years during the Neolithic period from around 3,000 BC to 2,600 BC, a large henge (a bank and a ditch) with a large outer stone circle encircles part of Avebury village. Two separate smaller stone circles are located closer to the centre of the henge.
The outer stone circle is 332 metres in diameter with a circumference just over 1,000 metres and encloses two smaller stone circles near its centre. The available evidence suggests that in the early Neolithic, Avebury and the surrounding hills were covered in dense oak woodland, and as the Neolithic progressed, the woodland around Avebury and the nearby monuments receded and was replaced by grassland.
The largest stone is estimated to weigh more than 100 tons, making it one of the largest ever found in the UK. Radiocarbon dating of some stone settings indicate a construction date of around 2870–2200 BC.
The Avebury stone circles are less well known than the better preserved and more famous Stonehenge, about 17 miles to the south, as In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, local people destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons. In the 20th century, archaeologists restored much of the monument, re-erecting stones which had been toppled. A geophysical survey of the circle in 2003 revealed at least 15 of the megaliths lying buried and identified where they fitted in the circle .
These two stones form the “cove” marks the centre of the inner northern circle and is thought to be the oldest part of the complex, erected around 3,000 BC.
I had found this brass dowsing rod in some long grass and it did seem to want to align with various stones. Perhaps the energy field of the stones is the reason that the SatNav system in my car crashed when I drove into Avebury and my mobile phone also had no reception within the circle.
The West Kennet Avenue, an avenue of paired stones, leads from the southeastern entrance of the henge towards West Kennet and the Sanctuary and is thought to have been constructed around 2,400 BC. There are also traces of a second Avenue leading out from the western entrance.
I had walked the Avenue earlier in the day, after I left West Kennet Long Barrow, but I returned near sunset, and managed to take some nice photos.