Mystery of the Avebury stones: Heather investigates

Throughout my childhood, I seem to have very few memories. One is sitting eating tea in front of the TV, on a Sunday evening, watching Time Team. The other is being taken to Avebury. I don’t know whether the latter was a regular thing, but it was definitely something that stuck.

AVEBURY STONES

Over many years, my parents would take me and my sister, not expressly to see the manor house or even the picturesque village, but to see the stones.

Nothing special just stones; erected onto a field, in a sort of circle. Just stones.

At least, to a 6 year old girl, that was all they were. It was a brilliant open space to run around, and there was definitely an atmosphere, but they were just really big stones. What on earth is so special about that?

Obviously, I am not the first person to try and dig out the truth of what these stones are and why they are here.

Located in Wiltshire, in England’s south west, the village of Avebury is ideally situated close to the River Kennet. Even closer to the village is the two streams which form the source of this river, the Winterbourne and the Sambourne.

The River Kennet passes through the North Wessex Downs and meets with its main tributary, the River Thames, to connect England’s modern day capital to Britain’s mightiest megalithic monument.

But why is it there?

I was fortunate enough recently, to spend a day at Avebury volunteering at their Halloween event, where I was able to find out from our Avebury volunteer co-ordinator, Chris Penny, why Avebury is so special.

“Avebury is special to me on two fronts firstly (and this goes back to childhood) it brings history to life and it allows me to consider my past, secondly as a person fortunate enough to work for National Trust leading the volunteer team. Avebury is special because it evokes so much mystery, enthusiasm in the volunteer team and is totally unique.”

Chris said there were plenty of stones around, and Neolithic people were good at exploiting local materials, making it the perfect location to create a stone circle, but there is only a small amount that we can be sure of.

So the mystery of the stone circles still remains; but maybe that is why, 16 years on, I still find myself back there, on many occasions and for many reasons, and I think I always will (plus, they do a fab cream tea!)

Heather Headon, writer and National Trust Business Support Co-ordinator

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2 thoughts on “Mystery of the Avebury stones: Heather investigates

  1. I have always found Avebury to be a fascinating site, there is so much to see, the ‘cup’ marks cut on some of the outer stones, and the history of the poor tailor. I do hope that the NT has housed the museum in a more modern building. Thank you Dr. Nick for giving the information about the FragmeNTs.

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