Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: Avebury



I've been wandering in the past again, looking at a marvelous site on Avebury. It contains comprehensive information about the amazing Neolithic standing stones in southern England, including plans, maps, panoramic views, history and links to explore further. "Whereas Stonehenge has long been one of Britain's most famous pre-historic sites, Avebury has been relatively unknown until recent times [because] much of the monument we see today had disappeared until Alexander Keiller resurrected it from the obscurity into which time and human behaviour had driven it. Stonehenge has stood upon Salisbury Plain always obvious to the eye and defiant of the weather but Avebury's magnificence lay hidden, vandalised and ignored." Now it is "one of the most important ancient sites in the British Isles." I'm amazed to learn that "It is estimated that the henge and avenues originally contained in excess of 600 stones. So many have been destroyed that only 76 of them are now visible. Excavations and surveys in recent years have revealed that at least 20 others remain buried."

Besides the excellent research information, I enjoyed the personal notes by the author (name unknown), such as the story of his first encounter with the stones and his comments on the theories about Avebury. He writes that Avebury "in common with all of the many megaliths of the neolithic period, is something that lies outside of our experience, its purpose still demanding an explanation by our modern, scientific minds. These days my personal attitude towards it is merely one of delight that it exists. I'm certain that the people who built it had a perception of life and sensitivity to nature that is now quite alien to us. I like to imagine that they were also very altruistic, a trait that the love of money has largely eradicated from our modern world. Considering these points I now accept that the 4,500 years of history since has probably rendered us incapable of finding a path that would lead us to the correct explanation of Avebury's many enigmas."

There are even "wallpapers" to download, one of which I chose to put above as a small illustration. (Thanks to plep for the link.)

You may find it interesting to compare Avebury's standing stones to the ones in Sweden.

Addendum Dec.3.2005: I forgot to point out the page called plain stones where the author compares Avebury to other neolithic sites that have petroglyphs (carvings) and pictographs (paintings). Why were Avebury and Stonehenge left unadorned?

Marja-Leena | 30/11/2005 | 6 comments
themes: Rock Art & Archaeology


There's a great portal to standing stones around the world here - many photographs too.

I've been to Avebury many times over the last 20 years and I have to say that it's getting more and more popular. There's now a huge carpark and each time we go it's fuller than the last. I do hope they won't have to fence the stones away from the wear-and-tear of too many visitors.

Oh, I do know that site but have forgotten to look at it in quite some time! Thanks for the reminder.

I envy your being able to visit Avebury so many times, qB. I've long wanted to visit the stone circles and rock art sites in the British Isles and will one day. I've heard of the unfortunate barrier around Stonehenge and do hope it doesn't happen to Avebury. It's amazing that there is a village in the middle, and surely that is another challenge in keeping the stones undamaged.

Hei Marja-Leena.
Kävin sivultasi kurkistamassa Ruotsissa olevia kiviä. Ne ovat kuin hahmoja, jotka seisovat siellä aukealla. Mielikuvitus lähti heti liikkeelle.

Hei Maria, Aivan sama tunne on minulla kun katson niitä kuvia. Nuo erikoisen vanhat ihmisten tekemiä kivi ympyröitä, ja kivitaide vetää minuun kovasti, niinkuin olet ehkä huomannut. Käyttäen näitä kuvia omassa työssäni, minusta tuntuu niinkuin minä voin jotenkin ottaa yhteyttä tuhansien vuosien yli nuihin esi taiteilijoihin. Osasinkohan suomeksi selittää sitä mahtavaa tunnetta?

Kun olin mieheni kanssa käymässä Stonehengessä, siellä ei ollut vielä aitausta ympärillä.

Opas kertoi kiinnostavan asian: kivet tuotiin uittamalla yksitellen jokea pitkin jostain kaukaa satojen kilometrien päästä joen yläjuoksun tienoilta. Lautassa oli syvennys, joten kivi oli osittain veden sisällä, mikä vähensi sen painoa. Rakentaminen kesti varmaankin kauan. Ennen oli aikaa.

Anna, kiva että olet nähnyt Stonehengin, ja vielä ilman aitausta. Kyllä ihmiset olivat viisaampia silloin kun monet modernistit antaa arvoa!