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The manor dates back to the sixteenth century, but has changed over the years. The National Trust, which owns the manor, recently undertook a major project (which was the subject of a BBC TV programme: 'To the Manor Reborn') to restore the manor by recreating interiors from different points in its history.
Instead of the usual 'look, don't touch' attitude, visitors are actively encourage to touch things: pick up the telephone, play snooker on the billiard table, try out the bouncy 'exercise chair' in the dining room and sit on the chairs. Beware of the bed in the Tudor bedchamber - it's much harder to get out of than you might think!
As well as the manor house and gardens, there is also a museum in the stable block about the archaeological discoveries of Alexander Keiller.
The manor is open every day except Wednesdays. Admission to the house is by timed ticket only. You need to collect your timed ticket from the ticket office in the barn when you arrive - they cannot be booked in advance.
There is a tea room and shop on site.
Written Apr 6, 2012
Address: High Street, Avebury, Wiltshire, SN8 1RF
The Stone Circle at Avebury dates to about 2800 BC. It consists of a Great Outer circle which is 335m in diameter, a Northern Inner Circle 98m in diameter, a Southern inner circle 108m in diameter and two avenues : the West Kennet avenue and the Beckhampton Avenue. Of the Great Outer Circle only 27 stones remain, but concrete pylons indicate where other stones once stood. These were removed by the church in the 14th century as part of its campaign against paganism. The stones are considered to be male [long] or female [diamond shaped] and thus suggest the site had a fertility significance.
Updated Jun 17, 2011
Address: Avebury, Wiltshire
Although the village was built in the Middle Ages and some of the stones from the neolithic circle were used to build some of the buildings, it is worth seeing some of the attractive houses. As in other parts of Wiltshire, thatched roofs are a familiar sight, and make me trigger happy with the camera.
I didn't have the chance to see all the village, but what I saw I liked.
Written Jul 6, 2009
Address: Avebury, Wiltshire
This large man-made hill was constructed about 2500-2800 BC It is a mysterious Neolithic monument, the largest prehistoric monument in Europe. It is 40m high and covers 5 and a half acres.. The top is flat. It has been suggested that it would have taken 500 men working continuously 15 years to make. It has been likened to the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt, and like it thought to have been a burial mound , or an observatory. No human remains have been found.
Archaeologists and engineers say it was made in stages. About 2660 Bc a 5.5 m mound was made, capped with chalk rubble, then it was built up with a covering of chalk excavated from a 7m deep ditch surrounding the base of the hill. Finally 6 concentric steps or terraces of chalk, covered with chalk rubble, flint and finally soil were made. Only the upper level is visible on the eastern side,a terrace about 5m below the summit.
Many theories exist as to what the mound was built for. Although no grave has been found. Many think it is a burial mound for a chieftain named Sil, other suggestions are an observatory, a sundial, or because of its proximity to other sites that it it is on a ley or dragon line.
The mound is fenced to prevent further erosion from people climbing it. A 20 car carpark is nearby.
Written Jul 1, 2009
Address: between Avebury and Calne off the A4
The next thing that caught our attention, as we drove a few miles directly south of Avebury on the A4 highway, was the huge mound of Silbury Hill suddenly jutting up out of the landscape! It was hard to miss seeing it, and its regular conical shape immediately suggested that this was not a natural hill. We stopped the car for a look, but actual access to the hill is forbidden. It turns out that Silbury Hill is Europe's largest prehistoric artificial mound, with testing indicating that it was built about 4300 years ago, near the end of the phase that was characterized by the building of the nearby even more famous standing stones.
The dimensions of the mound are quite impressive at 40-m (130-ft) high and with a base diameter of 160-m (520-ft). Various digs and explorations of Silbury Hill over the past 150 years indicate that the vast majority of the mound is comprised of a circular chalk cone stair-stepped up to a 'point' in 5 layers. This chalk inner structure is covered with an outer skin of gravel, earth and grass giving the stepped-construction the smooth appearance of a hill. Based on the volume of material involved, it is estimated that it would have taken labourers between 40-50 years to build the mound.
Inside the very heart of the structure, at ground level, the probes have revealed two more much smaller mounds. The innermost one is made of turf and is surrounded by a wooden fence. Covering this small mound is a chalk mound 3.5-m high and 20-m in diameter which has a circle of sarsen stones leaning on it around its bottom edge. The larger mound covers both of these smaller ones.
Although no definite reason has been determined for the building of Silbury Hill, excavations in 1723, 1776, 1849 and 1967 have turned up, from the innermost mound, 'caudal vertebrae of the ox, or perhaps the red deer, and a very large tooth of the same animal'. Finds such as this suggest a ritual purpose for the mound rather than as some sort of fantastic burial site such as inside the pyramids of Egypt.
Updated Mar 14, 2009
Address: On the A4 highway, near Avebury
The circles themselves are what most people come for and they are split up in four sections with the main road and the village in between the sectors so that you really need to fly over it to appreciate the size and perfect circle. All sectors have their share of impressive stones and there is a mound encircling them all which has footpaths on top so you can easily walk around it all and look down at this fascinating monument. It is only when certain parts might need a rest from all the visitors that a section might be closed off in the sense that you're asked not to walk through it. There are also a couple of circles within the main one. It is amazing to think that this place is around 6000 years old and therefore considerably older than Stonehenge. The travelogues below show you stones from all sorts of angles and sectors :))) Avebury as a historical site was in fact discovered in 1649 when the antiquarian John Aubrey was out hunting and all of a sudden "was wonderfully surprised at the sight of those vast stones of which I had never heard before." Mr Keiller who later bought the land and manor house here is the most famous name when it comes to restoring Avebury though. You can read more about him in a tip below.
Updated Apr 24, 2007
Phone: 01672 539250
We never made it here but it would be stupid of me not to mention this famous monument amongst the Avebury sites. It is a long barrow found between Avebury itself and Silbury Hill and is thought to be the longest barrow of its kind in Europe. Burials happened here 3700 B.C. along with various ceremonies that we know nothing about but which included fire. Inside are galleries, similar to many other barrows in this part of England, and excavations revealed that people were buried according to gender and age.
Written Apr 21, 2007
With the same entrance ticket as the above barn, this is a small but much more interesting museum about Avebury. Here you will find skeletons, pottery and other actual finds from the area as well as maps and explanations of the circles, Sidbury and West Kennet Longbarrow and theories as to who might have lived here and why they erected these huge monuments. You also get to know a little about Alexander Keiller of the famous marmalade family who himself settled for archaeology and spend hours and hours of his life as well as lots of money on restoring the stones and making them known to a general public once he had bought Avebury Manor house.
Updated Apr 21, 2007
People are so struck by the stones that they often forget to look at the rest of the village. That is a shame as for instance the church is very pretty. What you see today is from the 16th century but there has been a church here for around 1000 years. The font includes some serpents being calmed, and as serpents often symbolise pagan things, it is thought that this has to do with the history of Avebury.
Updated Apr 21, 2007
Absolutely amazing in size, you're not surprised when told that it is the largest man made mound in Europe. No one knows exactly what it was used for and excavations have not revealed any graves inside which is otherwise common with mounds. The hill is comparable in size to some of the Egyptian pyramides and on top of that it was just built using deer antlers to dig out the soil, and other simple tools. A truly astonishing achievement 2350 B.C! As the hill is protected you cannot climb it but let me tell you that it is impressive enough from a distance - and I've seen a lot of later age Viking mounds in Scandinavia!
Updated Apr 18, 2007
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