About 20 miles North of Stonehenge is a place not as touted in glossy brochures, but for history buffs or curious mystics, Avebury is sure to be far more satisfying. The ring itself is nearly a half mile in circumference and is delineated by both a 30 ft mound and a corresponding 30 trench, making it look “protected,” though scholars tell us this was not the purpose, as though it looks an impressive feat, the size would have actually proven ineffective for purposes of defense.
The henge surrounds an inner stone circle, roughly parallel, and then within that circle stands the remains of what was two other, smaller & separate circles of stones. Some were buried during a puritanical period during which local villagers felt them to be a threat, but they have been largely excavated and attempts made to restore the shapes as nearly as possible. Avebury ring is actually older than Stonehenge, as well as being 16 times larger, and for me there is something more awesome about it because of the size, the multiple rings, and the planning and effort for the very purposeful entrances across the trenches at 4 very precise, compass points. Nearby you can visit the Alexander Keiller Archaeology Museum to learn more about Avebury and the various theories of what the purpose for this and other Neolithic monuments in this area might be. Meg Via