A Week in Wiltshire: visiting the prehistoric sites
It would be hard to find an area of the country better endowed with sites of historic interest. Avebury and its surroundings, is a World Heritage Site, and in between walking I visited most of the venues.
Long before I booked to go to Wiltshire I read Adam Thorpe’s fascinating book, ‘On Silbury Hill’, but the first sight of the actual hill is still astonishing!
When it was built, at the same time as the Egyptian pyramids, it would have been completely white as it is built from blocks of chalk, though what it’s purpose was is not clear.
The village of Avebury is completely enclosed by a henge and circle of giant sarsen stones, some of which are now missing and replaced by markers, but many are still there, and some have actually never been disturbed since Neolithic times when the circle was constructed and the deep henge ditch was dug out – all with antler picks!
West Kennet Avenue is a green lane, leading up to the Avebury circle, almost certainly used as a processional route, and marked with huge standing stones on either side – often in pairs; one of the pair is a tall column, and the other a wider diamond shape, and they are thought to represent male and female – although why? no-one really knows.
The oldest site of all, established more than five and a half thousand years ago, is Windmill Hill. There are three circle ditches, which now have two Iron Age barrows in them of a much later date, and on this dome shaped hill there is not now really much to be seen from the ground. But I went anyway, and it was a good walk!
I visited some more interesting places while I was in Wiltshire – some more pics tomorrow! 🙂