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Avebury Stone Ring

Listed under Sacred Spaces in West Country, United Kingdom.

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North of Stonehenge, Avebury is the largest known stone ring in the world. The Avebury complex consists of a grass-covered stone bank enclosing 28 acres of land, a great circle of irregularly shaped stones, within which are two other stone rings. The stones, ranging in height from nine to over twenty feet, weigh as much as 40 tons. Excavations have shown that the three rings originally contained at least 154 stones of which only 36 remain standing today. Beginning in the late medieval era many stones were broken up by Christians in their effort to eradicate vestiges of pagan religious practices, and during the 17th and 18th centuries more of the stones were used as construction materials for local churches and houses.

In the early years of the 18th century the general outline of the Avebury complex was still discernable as the body of a serpent passing through a circle, forming a traditional alchemical symbol. The head and tail of the enormous snake were delineated by 50-foot wide avenues of standing stones, extending into the countryside. Adjacent to the Avebury rings is Silbury Hill, the largest megalithic construction in Europe, and the surrounding countryside has numerous standing stones and underground chambers positioned according to astronomical alignments. The Avebury temple was part of a vast network of Neolithic sacred sites arranged along a two-hundred mile line stretching across southern England. Positioned directly on this line are other fabled pilgrimage sites such as Glastonbury Tor and St.Michael's Mount.

Avebury on the Sacred Sites Website.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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Avebury Neolithic Site

Stonehenge’s less grand relative, Avebury is a Neolithic stone circle and henge constructed around 5000 years ago, so is more ancient than it’s famous relation. More than 100 stones, weighing up to 50 tonnes each are arranged around a series of circular moat like ditches covering four times as much ground as Stonehenge. An outer ring and two inner rings to the north and south (all erected at different times) are all that remains but at one stage timber structures made up part of the complex. During the 1930’s concrete pylons were inserted where stones were missing possibly buried.

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