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Avebury

The meaning of «avebury»

Avebury (/ˈeɪvbəri/) is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world. It is both a tourist attraction and a place of religious importance to contemporary pagans.

Constructed over several hundred years in the Third Millennium BC,[1] during the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, the monument comprises a large henge (a bank and a ditch) with a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles situated inside the centre of the monument. Its original purpose is unknown, although archaeologists believe that it was most likely used for some form of ritual or ceremony. The Avebury monument is a part of a larger prehistoric landscape containing several older monuments nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Windmill Hill and Silbury Hill.

By the Iron Age, the site had been effectively abandoned, with some evidence of human activity on the site during the Roman period. During the Early Middle Ages, a village first began to be built around the monument, eventually extending into it. 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. The antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley, however, took an interest in Avebury during the 17th century, and recorded much of the site before its destruction. Archaeological investigation followed in the 20th century, led primarily by Alexander Keiller, who oversaw a project which reconstructed much of the monument.

Avebury is owned and managed by the National Trust.[2] It has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument,[3] as well as a World Heritage Site, in the latter capacity being seen as a part of the wider prehistoric landscape of Wiltshire known as Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites.[4]

At grid reference SU10266996,[3] Avebury is respectively about 6 and 7 miles (10 and 11 km) from the modern towns of Marlborough and Calne. Avebury lies in an area of chalkland in the Upper Kennet Valley that forms the catchment for the River Kennet and supports local springs and seasonal watercourses. The monument stands slightly above the local landscape, sitting on a low chalk ridge 160 m (520 ft) above sea level; to the east are the Marlborough Downs, an area of lowland hills. The site lies at the centre of a collection of Neolithic and early Bronze Age monuments and was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in a co-listing with the monuments at Stonehenge, 17 miles (27 km) to the south, in 1986. It is now listed as part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site.[2] The monuments are preserved as part of a Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape for the information they provide regarding prehistoric people's relationship with the landscape.[5]

Related Searches

Avebury (village)Avebury Manor and GardenStonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
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