Mysterious Stone Circles
How Avebury got its name -- The story goes that while returning from a day's hunting one winter's evening in 1648, John Aubrey, on passing through the village of Avebury, recognized in the earthworks and standing stones around him an ancient temple, which he attributed to the Druids.
Location: Avebury lies in the heart of the Wiltshire Downs just west of Marlborough - the most ancient borough in England. Avebury is ninety miles west of London and twenty miles north of Stonehenge.
It contains the largest known stone ring in the world - though there is no proof.
Older than the more famous Stonehenge, and for many visitors far more spectacular, the multiple rings of Avebury are cloaked with mysteries which archaeologists have only begun to unravel.
Avebury stone circles are thought to have been constructed in neolithic times between 2500 to 2000 BC.
The 'Beaker people': so called after their pottery, are thought to have played a major role in their formation, as they did with Stonehenge.
Some people believe there is an exterrestrial link.
The village of Avebury in Wiltshire has given its name to one of the greatest stone circles in the British Isles.
Similar to Stonehenge and many other megalithic monuments in the British Isles, Avebury is a composite construction that was added to and altered during several periods.
As the site currently exists, the great circle consists of a grass-covered, chalk-stone bank that is 1,396 feet in diameter (427 meters) and 20 feet high (6 meters) with a deep inner ditch having four entrances at the cardinal compass points.
Just inside the ditch, which was clearly not used for defensive purposes, lies a grand circle of massive and irregular sarsen stones enclosing approximately 28 acres of land.
This circle, originally composed of at least 98 stones but now having only 27, itself encloses two smaller stone circles, each being about 340 feet (104 meters) in diameter. The two inner circles are believed to have been constructed first, around 2600 BC, while the large outer ring and earthwork dates from 2500 BC.
The construction of the Avebury complex must have required enormous efforts on the part of the local inhabitants. The sarsen stones, ranging in height from nine to over twenty feet and weighing as much as 40 tons, were first hewn from bedrock and then dragged or sledded a distance of nearly two miles from their quarry site.
These stones were then erected and anchored in the ground to depths between 6 and 24 inches. The excavation of the encircling ditch required an estimated 200,000 tons of rock to be chipped and scraped away with the crudest of stone tools and antler picks (there is some evidence that this ditch was once filled with water, thereby giving the inner stone rings the appearance of being set upon an island).
From excavation and soil resistivity studies it is known that the three rings originally contained at least 154 stones of which only 36 remain standing today.
There are three reasons for disappearance ofthese stones. In the 14th century, and perhaps earlier, the local Christian authorities, in their continuing effort to eradicate any vestiges of 'pagan' religious practices, toppled, broke up and buried many of the stones.
Later, in the17th and 18th centuries, still more of the remaining stones were removed fromtheir foundations. Crops could then be planted in these areas and the massivestones could be broken into smaller pieces to be used for the construction ofhouses and other buildings.
Located in the midst of a rich prehistoric landscape, the village lies a few miles away from the Ridgeway and in close proximity to Silbury Hill, the Sanctuary, the West Kennet Long Barrow, and the long barrows of East Kennet and Beckhampton.
West Kennel Avenue
Adam and Eve Stones at the Avebury Stone Circle
Circle was set up by Bronze Age peoples
c.1800BC, 200 years - earlier than Stonehenge.
Misty Avebury Stones. About 100 great sarsen stones
and local sandstone from Marlborough Downs, still stand.
Merlin Stone at Avebury. This village is ringed by one
of the most important prehistoric monuments in Britain.
Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England was regarded by
many experts as the most important early Bronze Age.
Silbury Hill in Avebury
Reference : http://www.crystalinks.com/avebury.html