WESSEX

Chronology of Avebury Monuments

These dates are, of course, very approximate. The builders are unlikely to sue.

YEARS BC
STRUCTURE
SOCIETY
4300-3800 Forest clearing ("slash & burn" - environmentally very insensitive) and beginnings of agriculture Hunting & gathering being replaced by cultivation. It's not clear whether hunters are being chased out by farmers, or if hunters are just learning new skills.
3700 Informal settlement on Windmill Hill. Simple collection of huts - no discernible social structure
3600-3400 Long Barrows. These are long (100ft or more) mounds, containing a number of stone chambers, usually containing burials, but not always. Certainly, not all burials were in long barrows (there wouldn't have been room for everyone). These seem to have been "family" businesses. They involved considerable work, but over a period of time.
It has been suggested that LBs were (or became) territorial markers, justifying occupation of territory by reference to the ancestors. The "empty" barrows may have belonged to impatient newcomers staking claims by forging the "deeds".
3300-3000 Causewayed enclosure on Windmill Hill. This may have been defensive, but may also have been a sort of "market square" - containing animals awaiting sale. There must have been some social organisation to achieve these enclosures - a sort of "town council" or gathering of clan leaders.
2700-2500 Silbury Hill built (in 3 stages) and Avebury ditch and bank constructed - huge tasks, done for some ineffable purpose.
But, there can be no doubt that they were intended to impress.
These must have required a high degree of social organisation. There may have been a dynasty of kings or of high priests. Whether these monuments were glorifying the rulers or their god(esse)s, we will probably never know.
2400-2300 Avebury stone circles and avenue stones erected.
There were also a number of smaller stone circles erected in the immediate area.
It may be that the monument had become self-perpetuating. Attracting pilgrims from a wide area, the locals may have decided to add extra frills.
2100 Stonehenge circle built. More sophisticated in design, but puny, compared to Avebury. A rival attraction?
2100-1900 Avebury sites beginning to decline There doesn't seem to be be any decline in prosperity in the area - it may be that the "new order" didn't need monuments so badly.
1800- Round barrows appearing. These are smaller mounds, always for burial, sometimes containing treasures. These are the Beaker folk - into personal possessions, rather than transcendental statements.
The Avebury Pages
Time Travel
Avebury Pictures[Avebury]
The Longest Road
Zel's Treasure
Three Steps to Heaven
But first...
The Big Show
After the Show
Silbury Hill Pictures[Silbury]
"Stones of Avebury" (music)
Megalith index
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