Avebury is a place of mystery and is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe. Larger than Stonehenge, covering twenty-nine acres and surrounded by an earth bank over fifteen feet high, this Neolithic monument is a World Heritage Site. An avenue of great standing stones leads to an outer circle which contains two smaller formations. Unlike those at Stonehenge, none of these stones has been worked by man. They were obviously chosen for their natural shape and symbolic importance, some being bulging diamond shapes, whilst others are slender and upright, representing female and male figures. The stones are massive, the Swindon Stone weighing over sixty tons.
Partly within the earth bank, is the lovely village of Avebury, with its thatched pub and Saxon church of St. James. Avebury Manor and Garden is a National Trust property in the village, dating from the 16th century. In the 1930s, Alexander Keiller (known as the “marmalade millionaire”) lived here and established the Alexander Keiller Museum in the Manor Stables. He re-erected many of the Avebury stones and sold the stone circle and museum to the National Trust in the 1940s.
Avebury is surrounded by chalk downs, which themselves contain equally impressive sites of interest.
Silbury Hill is Europe’s largest man-made mound, 130 feet high, which was built before the Romans. Despite much excavation and investigation, it is not known why it was built.
West Kennet Long Barrow is the largest burial chamber in Europe, over 350 feet long and built about 5,700 years ago.