It's catch up time on the reading and writing blogs front. As an excuse I must say I've been away for a while although that only accounts for a week. It was a very varied week, admiring the passing world and taking a mighty pile of photographs of the more interesting things that come my way. I have no intention of documenting my travels chronologically, mainly to aid variety but for a first serving I will begin at the beginning with a day in Avebury.
Avebury isn't just a jolly impressive stone circle - the entire area is full of evidence of life in ancient Britain. In the first picture is Silbury hill. At 37 metres high and, comprised of chalk and clay, it is the largest prehistoric man made mound in Europe. Carbon dating has found that it was started in 2400 BC plus or minus 50 years. Excavations of the hill from the 18th century onwards have damaged it badly and now the general public don't have access to go on it.
Burial mounds near the sanctuary. These are early bronze age - about 4000 years old. They're quite common around the area - not all have survived though, some have been excavated or ploughed into fields.
The concrete markers below don't look much but they mark the post holes of the prehistoric circle known as the Sanctuary. Dating from about 3000 BC it is thought that it would originally have been a circle of wooden posts which would have been replaced at a later date by standing stones. It is linked to the main Avebury circle by one of the avenues of ancient stones.
Silbury hill from the West Kennet Longbarrow
The longbarrow itself.
The front of the barrow is faced with several large local sarsen stones
Behind the middle stone, you find the way in.
At some point during excavations, somebody has installed a couple of skylights in the barrow so you can see perfectly well inside. It's very atmospheric and to me feels quite comfortable
As I was turning round to leave I spotted a swallow flitting in and out.
By standing in the shadows of one of the chambers I was able to watch them as they attended to the nest they had made in the opposite chamber.
It was a very pleasant day catching up with some old friends I haven't seen since last year and having a pint in the Red Lion and of course what visit to Avebury would be complete without a wander round the stones.