Avebury — the other henge — and the biggest! by da-AL


Some of Avebury henge’s residents.

Stone circles — when it comes to henges (prehistoric wood or stone earthworks ringed by a bank and a ditch) — Stonehenge comes to mind. Our visit to the United Kingdom included London, the British Museum Part 1Part 2 – and Part 3, Bath, and the Kelpies of Scotland. Stonehenge, unfortunately, didn’t fit with our self-drive itinerary…

Welcome to g-r-e-e-n Avebury henge and village!

News to me, the U.K. is home to many stone circles! Archeologist Aubrey Burl cites 1,303 in Britain, Ireland, and Brittany. Theories abound as to why henges came to be erected.

Henges are regarded as sacred sites and living temples by some.

Visiting the henge at Avebury village proved a stroke of good fortune — it’s the largest in the world.

Wikipedia: The postulated original layout of Avebury, published in a late 19th-century edition of the Swedish encyclopaedia Nordisk familjebok. Original illustration by John Martin, based on an illustration by John Britton

Moreover, it’s comprised of t-h-r-e-e rings surrounding the southwest English village.

Avebury henge now. Wikipedia by Detmar Owen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

It took hundreds of years to construct Avebury henge. One of its stones weighs over 100 tons!

Inside the round dovecote are cubbies for birds to nest.

The immediate area includes the only pub enclosed by a henge, a dovecote (where domesticated pigeons and doves nest), a church, a manor, a beekeeper (an affable French man who taught us much as we sipped afternoon tea with locally baked scones)… and assorted sheep.

The community of Avebury features impressive historical buildings.

What’s your theory as to why stone circles exist?…

61 thoughts on “Avebury — the other henge — and the biggest! by da-AL

  1. I love traveling with you. Had the good fortune to see Stonehenge in 1966 before it was encased in protective fencing. A mighty experience then as it stood sentry on its empty plain, all massive stone and long shadows. As to why – I think mankind has been searching for spiritual confirmation since we dropped down from the trees in Africa and realized how lucky we were not to be eaten. Makes you want to give thanks, but then you’ve got to know to whom you give thanks. Thus, paintings in caves, carvings on mountain sides, stone monoliths where stones do not fall, ink passages on parchment, and cathedrals to the one we hope blesses us.

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  2. My wife and I were blessed to make a similar tour three years ago. After Stonehenge (gotta be early to beat crowds) we saw Avebury and were equally blown away at it’s size and history, but lack of notoriety. Glad you guys experienced it, too.

    As to their mystery, it’s such a tragedy we have no codified languages surviving from that region and time period and are left to rely on Roman sources. If stones could only talk, you know? All I know is they went through a LOT of trouble to move such weight over such distances, so they were certainly a meaningful thing for ancient Britons. I’d imagine they were lively places. Kids crawling all over them, maybe. Bonfires everywhere. I don’t subscribe to all the dark and bleak notions of blood sacrifices all the time. They had to be communal to be so massive, surely.

    Personally, I want to know what’s going on below the ground, since the stones supposedly go as deep as they rise above the surface. I guess that’s just me, though. Buried treasure?

    Safe travels!

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  3. They were built by the druids for religious ceremonies from what I understand. I hadn’t heard of this one, but I’d love to visit it! There’s another fantastic one in the Orkneys called the Ring of Brogdar that we’ve been to.

    Liked by 2 people

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