Ermak Travel Guide

 

The World at your fingertips 

 

 

Location: Wiltshire  Map

Info: Green St

Tel. 01672 539250

Open: daily

Constructed: 2600 BC

www.nationaltrust.org.uk

 

Alexander Keiller Museum

Off High St.

Tel. 01672 538015

Open: daily

Closed: 24- 26 Dec

www.nationaltrust.org.uk 

Avebury

Avebury

 

 

 

 

Description of the Avebury

Avebury is a Neolithic megalithic monument located in the village of Avebury in Wiltshire.  Although it is less known than Stonehenge its three circles are the largest in United Kingdom. The Outer Circle has a diameter of 332 meters or 1088 feet. Judging by the remains of the human activity in the are the site was constructed around 2600 BC. The site is surrounded by a ditch. It is hard to say what is the significance of the stones. There is no evidence or any written records that could describe the pagan rituals. But it was certainly an important religious complex for the ancient people if they were compelled to move these huge rocks from place to place. During the Iron Age the site was abandoned. Archeological evidence suggest that Romans lived near these impressive marvels of engineering, but by the time they showed up there was no one who could explain the meaning or purpose of the rituals that once were held here.

 

During Medieval times the stones of Avebury were often reused for construction purposes. Some were badly vandalized by the local folks wither for the fun of it or due to religious reasons since most of the people were Christians at the time, at least by name. In an interesting turns of faith one of the local men was crushed to death then villagers tried to topple huge stones. The body was left buried there by a huge gravestone. Only in 1938 during excavation his body was discovered with a broken neck and shattered pelvis. He also carried a leather pouch with three silver coins dating back to 1320- 25. Besides he also carried a lance and a pair of iron scissors suggesting he was a barber or a surgeon or a combination of the two. That apparently put an end to destruction of the site and soon it began to crumble all by itself. The stone that killed the poor guy is now called "The Barber Stone".

 

First interest in the history of the culture that created this picturesque complexes were John Aubrey and William Stukeley in the 17th century. They made drawings and recorded some of the findings that survived centuries of neglect. However many of the assumptions that these enthusiasts have made were wrong. The site had nothing to do with the druids, pagan priests. In the 20th century reconstruction and preservation of Avebury circles fell on the shoulders of Alexander Keiller.

 

Avebury Layout MapToday you might easily drive there and see the circles for yourself. They are added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, but there is no gates or fences that enclosed or protects the site. Weird, goofy looking people that you might encounter there in long coats or flowers in their hair are not hippies. They are mostly New Agers and neo- Pagans on their picnic trips to the site.

This is not the only ancient monument of its kinds in the area. Along with Silbury Hill and megalithic structures of the West Kennet Long Barrow it was part of network of prehistoric pagan sites in the region.

 

 

 

 

Avebury

 

 

 

 

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