Avebury Stone Circle

by jptanabe

Avebury Stone Circle - another amazing Neolithic monument not far from Stonehenge!

The Avebury Stone Circle is located by the village of Avebury in Wiltshire county, England, close to the more famous Stonehenge. Built as much as 5,000 years ago, it is one of the finest Neolithic monuments in Europe. It also includes a large henge, or circular boundary earthwork with a ditch and an external bank.

While today it functions mainly as a tourist attraction, pagan festivals are also conducted at the Avebury site, reflecting the understanding that the monument was originally used for pagan, particularly Druid, rituals. Today, many believe that the Avebury stone circle remains a center of spiritual energy, connecting us both to the ancient culture of the past who built it and to the eternal future of the spiritual realm.

Image of "Stone 16 in Avebury henge's Great Circle" from Wikimedia Commons.

Standing Stones at Avebury

The Avebury stone circle site is fascinating, with huge megalithic stones and an enormous surrounding ditch, all just sitting there in the peaceful English countryside. The sheep seem quite at home among them!

Great books about Avebury

If you don't think you'll ever be able to visit Avebury, or if you're planning a trip there, you can read up about this amazing place. Here are some books that have lots of great information, and pictures.

Prehistoric Avebury

An account of the prehistoric stone circles at Avebury, which not only date from an earlier era but are also larger than the more famous sarsen stone circle of Stonehenge. Writt...

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The Avebury Cycle

Avebury parish in Wiltshire contains an amazing collection of Stone Age monuments. Four thousand years ago this stretch of the chalk downs was the metropolis of Britain, with th...

View on Amazon

Avebury Stone Circle Symbolism

Like all megalithic monuments, including nearby Stonehenge, the purpose of Avebury is shrouded in mystery and speculation. Clearly immense effort was expended to build this monument, implying that the builders had a clear purpose. Without a clear record of their activities there though, today we are left only with what remains of the magnificent monument and our own creative imagination as to its purpose and possible uses.

The postulated original layout of the circles at Avebury
The postulated original layout of the circles at Avebury

It is known that when Christianity came to the area many of the stones were burned and destroyed in fear that they were used for pagan rituals. Today, pagan festivals take place there, and the site is regarded not just as an archaeological wonder but as a sacred site.

An interesting point is that the stones are of 2 types: a tall, skinny type and a short, squat type. It has been suggested that the tall skinny ones represent the male and the short squat ones the female gender. A pretty good guess, really, since male and female are the 2 complementary features of all life. Assuming that this monument has meaning, and that meaning is derived from the significant spiritual and/or natural aspects of life, the male-female duality is certainly a likely candidate. Ancestor worship has been suggested as a possible purpose of the Avebury stone circle, which is compatible with the male/female distinction.

Stone 15b, a tall 'masculine' pillar . Beyond it is its 'feminine' companion, stone 15a
Stone 15b, a tall 'masculine' pillar . Beyond it is its 'feminine' companion, stone 15a

The henge itself clearly is symbolic not defensive, since the ditch is on the inside. It does form an imposing boundary to the circle. One suggestion, based on the idea that the Avebury stone circle was built according to some astronomical alignment, is that the bank of the henge provides a uniform horizon by which to observe the rising and setting of various heavenly bodies.

Other theories have connected the Avebury stone circle to the crop circles that have appeared particularly in the English countryside in recent decades. Here, the idea that aliens are responsible for the crop circles ties in well to the idea, often suggested, that these huge megalithic stone monuments like the stones circle at Avebury could not have been built by ancient human culture alone, but were inspired and assisted, if not entirely built, by extraterrestrial aliens.

Aerial Views of the Avebury Stone Circle

Aerial views of Avebury clearly reveal the henge boundary, the circular layout of the remaining stones as well as the straight line "avenues" of standing stones.

Aerial View of Avebury by Adam Woolfitt
Aerial View of Avebury by Adam Woolfitt

Artistic Pictures of Avebury Stones

Artists don't need to do much to make amazing pictures of the Avebury stones - just a bit of exciting weather makes for an out of this world sight!

More on the Avebury Stone Circle

Updated: 05/21/2016, jptanabe
 
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Aren't these Avebury Stones Amazing!


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blackspanielgallery on 09/17/2015

Interesting. I have heard of Stonehenge, but the rest s new.

frankbeswick on 09/17/2015

Small stone circles have an atmosphere as well. At eighteen years old I walked to a tiny circle above Penmaenmawr in North Wales, and it was impressive. So quiet, so powerful. That day I fell down a gully when climbing downhill. At eighteen you can cope with that. Nowadays, it's not so easy. Happy memories!

Veronica on 09/17/2015

I love Avebury, possibly even more than Stonehenge. At Avebury we can get even closer to the stones and it has a very special and unique atmosphere too, more intimate. Thank you for posting .

jptanabe on 09/17/2015

Oxen instead of aliens! Yes, thank you for that very reasonable response. I don't think aliens were necessary to build these megalithic monuments either. Still, they are incredible and one does wonder why (as well as how) these people from long ago went about building them. It's fascinating to try and understand the thinking of such people. And of course giving all the tough parts to the aliens solves everything - except, who were these aliens!

frankbeswick on 09/17/2015

I don't agree with the alien theory, as the stones could have be erected by people using oxen, so aliens are not needed. Britain and Ireland were at that time agricultural societies dominated by cattle, so oxen would have been in good supply. To understand the strength of oxen my father told me how during the war in Sicily oxen were used to extract his trapped armoured car from mud from which not even a tank could extract it. If they could pull out an armoured car, stones would have been no problem.

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