|Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites*|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|State Party||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Criteria||i, ii, iii|
|Region†||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1986 (10th Session)|
|* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.|
† Region as classified by UNESCO.
Avebury is the site of a large henge and several stone circles in the English county of Wiltshire surrounding the village of Avebury. Stonehenge Avebury and Associated Sites is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Wiltshire, England. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex As of 2008 there are a total of 878 World Heritage Sites located in 145 "State Parties" The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex This is a list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe. Asia Minor, Cyprus, all of the Aegean Islands, the Canaries A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex henge is a prehistoric Architectural structure. In form it is a nearly circular or oval-shaped flat area over 20 Metres (65 feet) in diameter A stone circle is an ancient monument Such a monument is not always precisely circular and often forms an ellipse or a setting of four stones laid on an arc of a circle England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Etymology The county formerly 'Wiltonshire' or 'Wiltunscir' (9th century is named after the former county town of Wilton (itself named after the River Wylye Avebury (the traditional local pronunciation is "A'bury" is a Village and Civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is one of the finest and largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to around 5,000 years ago. The Neolithic (from Greek νεολιθικός — neolithikos from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos It is older than the megalithic stages of Stonehenge, which is located about 32 kilometres (20 mi) to the south, although the two monuments are broadly contemporary overall. Stonehenge is a Prehistoric Monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury It lies approximately midway between the towns of Marlborough and Calne, just off the main A4 road on the northbound A4361 towards Wroughton. Marlborough ( IPA /ˈmɔːlbrə/ " Maul bruh" is a market town in the English county of Wiltshire on the Old Bath Road Calne is a Town in central Wiltshire, England. It is situated at the southern extreme of the county's North Wiltshire * local government district The A361 is a major Road in England and at 195 miles is the longest 3 digit A road in the UK Wroughton is a large village in Wiltshire in the South West England region of the UK. The henge is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a World Heritage Site. In the United Kingdom, a Scheduled Monument is a 'nationally important' Archaeological site or historic building given protection against unauthorised change A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex 
Avebury is a National Trust property. The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organization in England, Wales
Most of the surviving structure consists of earthworks known as the dykes, consisting of a massive ditch and external bank henge 421 metres (1,381 ft) in diameter and 1. 35 kilometres (0. The kilometre ( American spelling: kilometer) symbol km is a unit of Length in the Metric system, equal to one thousand 84 mi) in circumference. A mile is a unit of Length, usually used to measure Distance, in a number of different systems including Imperial units United States The only known comparable sites of similar date (Stonehenge and Flagstones in Dorset) are only a quarter of the size of Avebury. Stonehenge is a Prehistoric Monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury Flagstones is a late Neolithic Causewayed enclosure in the English county of Dorset. Dorset ( (or archaically, Dorsetshire) is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast The ditch alone was 21 metres (69 ft) wide and 11 metres (36 ft) deep, with its primary fill carbon dated to between 3400 and 2625 BC. Radiocarbon dating is a Radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring Radioisotope Carbon-14 (14C to determine the age of A later date in this period is more likely although excavation of the bank has demonstrated that it has been enlarged, presumably using material excavated from the ditch. The fill at the bottom of the final ditch would therefore post-date any in an earlier, shallower ditch that no longer exists.
Within the henge is a great Outer Circle constituting prehistory's largest stone circle with a diameter of 335 metres (1,099 ft). It was contemporary with or built around four or five centuries after the earthworks. There were originally 98 sarsen standing stones some weighing in excess of 40 tons. Sarsen stones are stone blocks found in quantity on Salisbury Plain, the Marlborough Downs, in Kent, and in smaller quantities in Berkshire, Standing stones, orthostats, liths or more commonly Megaliths ' because of their large and cumbersome size are solitary stones set vertically in the They varied in height from 3. 6 to 4. 2 m as exemplified at the north and south entrances. Carbon dates from the fills of the stoneholes date between 2800 and 2400 BC.
Nearer the middle of the monument are two other, separate stone circles. The Northern inner ring measures 98 metres (322 ft) in diameter, although only two of its standing stones remain with two further, fallen ones. A cove of three stones stood in the middle, its entrance pointing northeast. Cove is a term used to describe a tightly concentrated group of large Standing stones found in Neolithic and Bronze Age England.
The Southern inner ring was 108 metres (354 ft) in diameter before its destruction. The remaining sections of its arc now lie beneath the village buildings. A single large monolith, 5. 5 metres (18 ft) high, stood in the centre along with an alignment of smaller stones until their destruction in the eighteenth century. There is an avenue of paired stones, the West Kennet Avenue, leading from the south eastern entrance of the henge and traces of a second, the Beckhampton Avenue lead out from the western one. British Archaeologists refine the general archaeological use of avenue to denote a long parallel-sided strip of land measuring up to about 30m in width open at either end and Kennet Avenue or West Kennet Avenue is a Prehistoric site in the English county of Wiltshire. The Beckhampton Avenue was a curving prehistoric avenue of stones that ran broadly south west Avebury towards The Longstones at Beckhampton
Aubrey Burl conjectures a sequence of construction beginning with the North and South Circles erected around 2800 BC, followed by the Outer Circle and henge around two hundred years later and the two avenues added around 2400 BC. Aubrey Burl is a British Archaeologist most well known for his studies into Megalithic monuments and the nature of prehistoric Rituals associated with them
A timber circle of two concentric rings, identified through archaeological geophysics possibly stood in the northeast sector of the outer circle, although this awaits testing by excavation. In Archaeology, timber circles are circular arrangements of wooden posts interpreted as being either complexes of freestanding Totem poles or as the supports for large Archaeological Geophysics most often refers to Geophysical survey techniques used for archaeological imaging or mapping A ploughed barrow is also visible from the air in the northwestern quadrant. A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a Mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves
The henge had four entrances, two opposing ones on a north by northwest and south by southeast line, and two on an east by northeast and west by southwest line.
Despite being a man-made structure, it was featured on the 2005 TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the West Country because it consists of natural components. Seven Natural Wonders was a Television series that aired on BBC Two from 3 May to 20 June 2005.
Many of the original stones were destroyed from the early 14th century onwards to provide local building materials and to make room for agriculture. The stones were also destroyed due to a fear of the pagan rituals that were associated with the site. Both John Aubrey and later, William Stukeley visited the site and described the destruction. "How these curiosities would be quite forgott did not such idle fellowes as I am putt them down The Rev Dr William Stukeley FRS, FRCP FSA ( November 7, 1687 &ndash March 3, 1765) was an English antiquary who pioneered Stukeley spent much of the 1720s recording what remained of Avebury and the surrounding monuments.
Only 27 stones of the Outer Circle survive and many of these are examples re-erected by Alexander Keiller in the 1930s. Alexander Keiller (1889&ndash1955 was an Archaeologist and businessman who worked on the site at Avebury in Wiltshire. Concrete pylons now mark the former locations of the missing stones and it is likely that more stones are buried on the site. English Heritage is currently considering whether to dig up and re-erect these stones.
Excavation at Avebury itself has been limited. Sir Henry Meux put a trench through the bank in 1894, which gave the first indication that the earthwork was built in two phases.
The site was surveyed and excavated intermittently between 1908 and 1922 by a team of workmen under Harold St George Gray. He was able to demonstrate that the Avebury builders had dug down 11 metres (36 ft) into the natural chalk in excavating the henge ditch, producing an outer bank 9 metres (30 ft) high around the whole perimeter of the henge and using red deer antler as their primary digging tool. The Red Deer ( Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest Deer species Gray recorded the base of the ditch as being flat and 4 metres (13 ft) wide although some later archaeologists have questioned his use of untrained labour to excavate the ditch and suggested that its form may have been different. Gray found few artefacts in the ditch fill but did recover scattered human bones, jawbones being particularly well represented. In Archaeology, an artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological At a depth of about 2 metres (7 ft), Gray encountered a complete skeleton of a woman only 1. 5 metres (5 ft) tall who had been buried there.
Archaeologist Alexander Keiller re-erected many of the stones during the 1930s. Alexander Keiller (1889&ndash1955 was an Archaeologist and businessman who worked on the site at Avebury in Wiltshire. Under one, now known as the Barber Stone, the skeleton of a man was discovered. The story of the Barber surgeon of Avebury is one that most visitors to the prehistoric site of Avebury Henge in the English county of Wiltshire will have Coins found with him dated from the 1320s, and the evidence suggests that he was fatally injured while digging the burial pit for the stone when it fell on top of him. As well as the coins, he was found with a pair of scissors and a lancet, the tools of a barber-surgeon at that time, hence the name given to the stone. A scalpel is a small but extremely sharp knife used for Surgery, anatomical Dissection, and various Arts and crafts.  When a new village school was built in 1969 there was also limited further opportunity to examine the site and an excavation to produce carbon dating material and environmental data was undertaken in 1982.
The sequence of excavations has been examined by Dr Joshua Pollard in a series of volumes about Avebury. Dr Joshua Pollard FSA is a British Archaeologist, who is currently Senior Lecturer and Head of Archaeology at the University of Bristol.
A great deal of interest surrounds the stones at the monument which people describe often as being in one of two categories; tall and slender, or short and squat. This leads to numerous theories relating to the importance of gender in Neolithic Britain with the taller stones considered 'male' and the shorter ones 'female'. The Neolithic (from Greek νεολιθικός — neolithikos from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos See also Kingdom of Great Britain Great Britain (Breatainn Mhòr Prydain Fawr Breten Veur Graet Breetain is the larger of the two main islands The stones were not dressed in any way and may have been chosen for their pleasing natural forms. Numerous people have identified what they claim are carvings on the stones' surfaces, some carvings being more persuasive than others.
The human bones found by Gray point to some form of funerary purpose and have parallels in the disarticulated human bone often found at earlier causewayed enclosure sites. Causewayed enclosures are a type of large prehistoric earthworks common to the early Neolithic Europe. Ancestor worship, although on a huge scale, could have been one of the purposes of the monument and would not be mutually exclusive with any male/female ritual role. A ritual is a set of actions often thought to have Symbolic value the performance of which is usually prescribed by a Religion or by the Traditions
The henge, although clearly forming an imposing boundary to the circle, has no defensive purpose as the ditch is on the inside. Being a henge and stone circle site, astronomical alignments are a common theory to explain the positioning of the stones at Avebury.
The relationships between the causewayed enclosure, Avebury stone circles and, further south, West Kennet long barrow has caused some people to term this area a ritual complex - that is, a site with many monuments of interlocking religious function.
A large part of the small village of Avebury, complete with public house, is enclosed within the monument. Avebury (the traditional local pronunciation is "A'bury" is a Village and Civil parish in Wiltshire, England. A monument is a structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of past Two local roads intersect within the monument, and visitors can walk on the earthworks.
The two stone avenues (Kennet Avenue and Beckhampton Avenue) that meet at Avebury define two sides of triangle that is designated a World Heritage site and which includes The Sanctuary, Windmill Hill, Silbury Hill and the West Kennet Long Barrow. Kennet Avenue or West Kennet Avenue is a Prehistoric site in the English county of Wiltshire. The Beckhampton Avenue was a curving prehistoric avenue of stones that ran broadly south west Avebury towards The Longstones at Beckhampton A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex The Sanctuary is a prehistoric site on Overton Hill located around 5 miles west of Marlborough in the English county of Wiltshire. Windmill Hill Avebury is a Neolithic causewayed enclosure in Wiltshire England Silbury Hill is a 40-metre (130-ft high man-made chalk Mound near Avebury in the English county of Wiltshire. West Kennet Long Barrow is a Neolithic tomb or barrow, situated on a prominent chalk ridge near Silbury Hill, one-and-a-half miles south of Avebury
Avebury is seen as a spiritual centre by many who profess beliefs such as Paganism, Wicca, Druidry and Heathenry, and indeed for some it is regarded more highly than Stonehenge. Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller rustic" is a word used to refer to various religions and religious beliefs from across the world A druid was a member of the priestly and learned class in the ancient Celtic societies Stonehenge is a Prehistoric Monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury The pagan festivals all attract visitors, and the summer solstice especially draws increasingly large crowds from the religious to the idly curious. Avebury is said to stand on the St Michael ley line, an alignment that goes across England from Cornwall to East Anglia.
As with Stonehenge, though, access regarding both interpretation and physical presence is contested. While Avebury henge and circles are 'open' to all, access has been controlled through closure of the car park. Pressure of numbers on this circle is an issue begging resolution, and various attempts at negotiation are underway. Avebury is increasingly important for tourism today, and how visitors relate to Avebury is part of the study of the Sacred Sites, Contested Rites/Rights project (http://www.sacredsites.org.uk).
The National Trust, who steward and protect the site (owned by English Heritage) are also actively in dialogue with the Pagan community, who use the site as a religious temple or place of worship. Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller rustic" is a word used to refer to various religions and religious beliefs from across the world This dialogue takes place through the National Trust's Avebury Sacred Sites Forum. The project has a charter and guidelines for visitors, which helps to foster understanding between the Pagan community and the general public visiting the site.
The area was used in Children of the Stones (1976), a British television drama produced for children. Children of the Stones was a Television Drama for children produced by HTV in 1976 and broadcast on the United Kingdom 's ITV
Derek Jarman's silent, 10-minute short film A Journey to Avebury (1971) is set amongst the stones. Derek Jarman ( January 31 1942 – February 19 1994) was an English Film director, Stage designer
The stones were seen in a key moment in the 1998 comedy Still Crazy, starring Billy Connolly, Stephen Rea, Jimmy Nail, Timothy Spall and Bill Nighy. Still Crazy is a 1998 Comedy film about a fictional 1970s Rock band named "Strange Fruit" who after being split up for several Billy Connolly, CBE (born William Connolly Jr on 24 November, 1942) is a Scottish Stephen Rea (born Graham Rea on October 31, 1946) is an Irish Actor, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his Jimmy Nail (born March 16, 1954) is an English Actor and Singer. Timothy Leonard Spall OBE (born 27 February 1957) is an English BAFTA award-nominated film stage and television Actor. William Francis "Bill" Nighy (ˈnaɪ born 12 December 1949) is a Golden Globe - and BAFTA -award winning English Actor The film also features a scene inside the Red Lion at Avebury.
It was featured on the 2005 TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the West Country. Seven Natural Wonders was a Television series that aired on BBC Two from 3 May to 20 June 2005.
Avebury is one of the "uncommonly British days out" featured in the 2005 book Bollocks to Alton Towers, the authors recommending it as the antithesis of the packaged and restricted tourist experience to be found at the nearby and more famous Stonehenge. Bollocks to Alton Towers Uncommonly British Days Out (ISBN 0-14-102120-9 is a humorous travel book written by Robin Halstead Jason Hazeley Alex Morris and Joel Morris (the Stonehenge is a Prehistoric Monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury
Catherine Fisher's 2005 novel Darkhenge is set in and around Avebury. Catherine Fisher (born 1957 is an Author, broadcaster and adjudicator who lives in Newport.