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Avebury. Summary of Excavations, 1937 and 1938

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

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The reasons for selecting the northwest sector for the beginning of the excavations within the circles of Avebury, scheduled to last for at least a decade, by the Morven Institute of Archaeological Research (with the permission and cordial co-operation of H.M. Office of Works) was twofold. First, the conditions of indescribable squalor and neglect prevailing over most of the area of this section surpassed, if comparison is possible, those existing in any other part of the circle; indeed the tangle of rusty pig-wire, the accumulations, to a depth of nearly three feet, of old tins and broken bottles, around two of the standing stones, to say nothing of the refuse-heaps which filled part of the ditch almost flush with its edges, contributed ungenerously towards rendering the once majestic site of Avebury what it has been for centuries, the outstanding archaeological disgrace of Britain. Secondly, the presence of a veritable jungle of trees and undergrowth not only perpetually menaced the safety of this part of the monument, but had already done dama e to the preservation of the all-important features below ground-level.

Research Article
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 1939


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* The system of numeration of stones and stone–holes (or sockets within which stones previously stood) adopted by the Morven Institute in the northwest sector was to allot numbers consecutively in an anti–clockwise direction, Stone no. 1 being the standing megalith immediately to the west of the Swindon–Avebury road.

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