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Avebury

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Wiltshire  /  Avebury
(4.3/5 based on 2,400+ reviews for 8 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, sightseeing, museums
Avebury is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. Much of Avebury village is encircled by the prehistoric monument complex also known as Avebury. The parish also includes the nearby villages of Avebury Trusloe, Beckhampton and West Kennett.PrehistoryThe Avebury monument is vast, and consists of several smaller sites of varying dates. The earliest of these, the earthworks, dates to between 3400 and 2625 BC. Later additions include a henge and several stone circles. Starting in around the 14th century locals began dismantling the stone circles for one reason or another, to clear land, to provide material for other building projects, or simply to efface a pagan monument. In 1648 John Aubrey visited the site and found most of the stones still standing or lying nearby:These Downes looke as if they were Sown with great Stones, very thicke; and in a dusky evening they looke like a flock of Sheep: from whence it takes its name. One might fancy it to have been the Scene where the Giants fought with stones against the Gods... I was wonderfully surprised at the sight of those vast stones, of which I had never heard before; as also at the mighty Banke and Graffe about it. I observed in the Inclosures some segments of rude circles, made with these stones, whence I concluded, they had been in old time complete.In the 18th century William Stukeley visited the site and chronicled the further damage that had been done. In the 1930s the archeologist Alexander Keiller re-erected many of the fallen stones, partially restoring the circle to its original condition. In 1943 the British government took possession of the monument and the village; they are currently administered by the National Trust. In 1986 UNESCO added Avebury, along with Stonehenge, Silbury Hill, and associated local sites, to its World Heritage List.
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