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The Recent Excavations at Avebury

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

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The most impressive megalithic monument in the world, which has come to be known as the ‘Avebury Complex‘, lies on a spur of the Middle Chalk running northwestwards from the main massif of the North Wiltshire Downs. Immediately to the west runs the river Kennet. The monument consists of an approximately circular bank with a ditch on its inner side enclosing a level area of 28½ acres. On the inner edge of the ditch stood a circle of standing stones. Inside the circle again stood two interior settings of standing stones, each consisting of a double concentric circle, that to the north having in its centre three stones forming the so-called ‘Cove’, and that to the south a monolith. There was one original entrance through the bank and across the ditch at the south, and to this entrance an avenue (usually called ‘The West Kennet Avenue’) consisting of a double line of standing stones placed in pairs, averaging 50 feet apart transversely, and at average longitudinal intervals of 80 feet, led for a distance of over a mile from two small concentric stone circles on Overton Hill, known as ‘The Sanctuary’.

Research Article
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 1936


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3 The numbering of stoneholes and stones used in this article is that adopted for convenience during the excavations and begins from the southern end of the excavated portion, the left-hand stone to an observer facing Avebury being no. 1 and the right-hand no. 2 and so on.

4 Wilts. Arch. Mag., 45, 306.Google Scholar

5 It is significant that stones have since been recognized to have been dressed to these forms in stone circles as far apart as Cornwall and Cumberland.

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