Monday, September 04, 2017


Avebury is a massive monument, largely created during the 3rd millennium BCE. Its perimeter is a 420 meter diameter earthwork, within which is the world's largest known stone circle - a ring of around 100 standing stones which itself encloses two inner stone circles, each constructed around one of two huge megalithic structures known as the Cove and the Obelisk. The Obelisk was recorded in the 18th century as the largest stone at Avebury, but was later destroyed.

A square formation has been discovered within the Neolithic stone circle at Avebury, the village 130 kilometers west of London. Archaeologists believe the hidden stones, discovered using ground-penetrating radar, were one of the earliest structures at the site, and may have commemorated a Neolithic building dating to around 3500 BCE.

Previously archaeologists had speculated that the 330 meter diameter outer stone circle - the largest in Europe - preceded its enclosed features. The latest work suggests that a wooden building seeded the monument, a series of stone structures place around it over hundreds of years.

According to Mark Gillings, an archaeologist at the University of Leicester: "Our working interpretation is that the house is the first thing. It falls into ruin but they're still remembering and respecting it. They put a square around it about 3000 BC and then the circles."

Clues to the existence of a square structure, each side of which was around 30 meters in length, were first discovered by Alexander Keiller, who excavated in 1939, revealing a number of small standing stones in a line close to the former location of a 6-meter upright stone known as the Obelisk. Keiller's excavation also uncovered postholes and grooves, indicating that a building had once been there, which he supposed was medieval.

When the newly discovered square was compared with Keiller's notes it was found that the stones were centered on and aligned with the building, suggesting Neolithic origin. Similar Neolithic buildings have been discovered recently at other sites.


Edited from The Guardian (29 June 2017), Arts & Humanities Research Council [3 images] [2 images, 1 map]


Post a Comment

<< Home