Avebury is a Neolithic monument in the county of Wiltshire in South West UK and is approximately
11-14 miles from the cities of Swindon & Chippenham respectively.
Avebury is famous for having the largest stone circles and henges in the world. To explain, the stone circles are inside a massive circular earth works, commonly known as a henge (see below).
This “ditch’ at its time of construction roughly 20 meters wide, around 9 meters deep and has a
circumference of just under a mile. The estimates of the amount of soil that needed to be excavated to create these ditches
There are three related types of Neolithic earthwork that are all sometimes loosely called henges.
The essential characteristic of all three types is that they feature a ring bank and ditch, but with the ditch inside the bank rather than outside. Due to the poor defensive utility of an enclosure with an external bank and an internal ditch, henges are not considered to have served a defensive purpose.
It is considered that there was 3 circles of stones with in the border marked by the henge.
One large circle which ran around the entire inside of the henge itself and a further two separate ones which were in the centre of this giant circle. It is not known exactly how many stones were originally placed inside the monument but many have been moved by local farmers over the millennia or indeed broken down into blocks, in order to providing building materials for many of the houses which still exist in the village today (this is similar to the outer casings of the Pyramids at Gizeh, which were pillaged to build many of the buildings in Cairo).
The stones can vary in size and weight, ranging from the smaller ones up to 20 Tonnes, with the
largest going up to an estimated 100 tonnes! Unlike nearby Stonehenge, the Avebury stones are
believed to have been taken from nearby, where it is suggested they were dumped by the retreating Ice of the last ice age??
THE COMPLETE AVEBURY SITE
There is more to the Avebury site than just the stones and the henges. Approximately half to three quarters of a mile to the south is the man made feature known as Silbury Hill. This feature is a round based, flat topped hill of which the purpose or even method of construction is up for debate. Some suggest it was a 7 stepped pyramid that has been filled in, whilst others state it was the dumping point for soil moved from the Avebury Henge. There are those who strongly oppose the ‘slag heap’ theory and think the original design was a lot smaller and ended up growing over time?
Not far to the south east of Avebury is another site known as ‘The Sanctuary’. This is a smaller
circular site, which it is believed was made predominantly of timbers. Only painted stones now lay where it is believed the original posts were placed (There is an identical construction not far from stonehenge). Both the Sanctuary and Avebury were once linked by a straight line with standing stones either side, known as Kennett Avenue. The whole thing is completed by a structure to the south of Silbury Hill known as the West Kennet Long Barrow, this is a long mound dug out of the chalk on a hill and lined with stones, then covered over with soil again.
The site is dated to around 2800-2500 BC. The dating for the site comes from the carbon dating of Antler Pics (i.e tools fashioned from deer antlers, from which it is stated the millions of tonnes of chalk and soil that were excavated across the entire site).
WHAT WAS THE SITE USED FOR?
Obviously mainstream archeology states the whole complex was a religious location, which also may have had some function as a calendar, thus allowing for Crop growth.
WHO BUILT IT?
It is a mainstream view that the whole complex was built by ‘nomadic Farmers’ who built the entire site during the winter months, leaving the summer months for nomadic farming? As per every explanation of megalithic stones, they were apparently moved by log rollers and then erected using an ever growing set of wooden scaffold.
As stated there is mainstream controversy with regards to Silbury Hill, with a number of factions clashing over the builders, and its purpose.
ALTERNATIVE THOUGHTS ON AVEBURY
There are many!
The truth about Avebury may never come to light and if it was to do so, there would still be those who disagreed and thought it was otherwise (isn’t that the case with everything though?).
There are many factions of thought within the community of the village itself, ranging from Druids to Energy healers, spiritualist to academics and each will attest that the whole complex has a cornerstone in their particular belief. Procession of the equinoxes, light pollution and the destruction of many stones makes it difficult to definitely link it to astronomical alignments.
There are theories that the site has sexual connotations, with Silbury Hill being representative of a pregnant belly.
I personally loved the suggestion made by the lady who owned the B&B I stayed in, Antonette, who said the stones were like acupuncture for Mother Earth and that they channel the natural earths energy. I can see this tying very nicely to a scientific explanation which includes the earths magnetic field and tapping into its points of production, but I could not even contemplate trying to prove it! If however you read the works of Tesla (Tesla tower and movement of subterranean water generating electricity) and the theory of Christopher Dunn, it is possible to see that the concept of Energy is not as preposterous as it may initially sound?
MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS
My personal thoughts as I wandered the whole of the Avebury complex:-
1) What struck me at Avebury, was the size of the whole site and the depth of the Henge. The day after I was there, I past a significant modern day construction site on Salisbury plain and
saw the mechanical technology we are currently employing to move the earth on a site
which was tiny compared to Avebury. The Top foot of soil of the whole area under
development had been taken off and it was just white chalk, which gave a small insight into
how Avebury must have looked whilst under construction (Is it possible they left the site a
pure white patch, it would have looked amazing?)
2) This made me consider the manpower required to excavate such a huge henge and also build Silbury Hill. To achieve this would require massive numbers and organisation similar to
that required for the pyramids.
3) The stones. If we go with mainstream and theorise the stones were placed about 5-6
thousand years ago, we have to ask the question of “how big and what shape were they
when first placed in position. All of them are roughly rectangular in shape, even after maybe
6000 years of erosion, is it possible they were a very precise shape and cut when first laid? If
possible this would increase the weight of each stone to way more than they are currently
estimated. This obviously presented no major worries for the builders because they are
there, they did it?
4) The whole site covers square miles, which is a massive construction site, even with todays
technology. ‘Imagine being a farmer, 6000 years ago, and being told “right in the summer
you farm, in the winter we build gigantic structures”. Worst conditions, higher energy burn
per worker, increased consumption of food reserves at the point when most needed. If you
lived in animal furs, as mainstream says they did), and you had a workforce the size required
to do the job, you’d have killed all your meat food sources just trying to cloth everyone!
Whoever did build Avebury was organised, they had the ability to provide food, shelter,
clothing and a hierarchical structure to make it all happen. They planned, dug, moved
hundreds of thousands of tonnes of soil, moved the same weight in stones and placed them
with an accuracy that allowed them to fulfil a purpose, whatever that was? This is not a
community that has survived as nomadic farmers, who just decided one day to ‘give it a try’,
this is a community that understood gigantic engineering projects and was skilled enough
and organised enough to do them. If we see many similar sites across the UK we have to
assume there was a sharing of skills and knowledge to make that happen, which could
suggest a central point from which the knowledge came?? If we then see similar across the planet, could this knowledge sharing have spanned the globe?
Why stone? Wood would have been easier and more easily replaced.
- English Heritage (2011) "Early Prehistoric Monuments - Henges" Online. Accessed on 04 March 2018.