The Avenues

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The West Kennet Avenue which can be visibly seen stretching from the Southern Entrance of the Henge and winding its way towards the sanctuary on Overton Hill, connecting two monuments together as if they were one, Is a very impressive sight indeed, even to actually walk along its length, to marvel at human ingenuity as the landscape becomes changed and embedded with meaning. Its function and subsequently its meaning were to the late Neolithic people or to our ancestors, who erected this, can only be speculated on or hypothesized.

Past Antiquarian investigation which gave birth to present day Archaeological methods have all contributed in brining about a greater understanding, not only of the avenues, but of the complete Avebury complex within its landscape setting, through time and space, where the layers of human occupation, supersede the avenue construction, suggestions of early Neolithic exchange mechanisms, or long distant travel via its Graig Llwyd Axe found or recovered. The stone source originally derived from the uplands of Penmenmawr, in North Wales

One of the most enduring pictures of the Avenues is William Stuckeley sketch of Avebury known as the Temple Servant, showing two avenues, these being a reflection of each other, radiating out of the Avebury henge and circle complex. Various debates have ranged over the centuries concerning its existence. Recent investigation at the end of the last century and into the early 21st century, through carefully, patient and meticulous research, has been able to confirm the existence of this.

The Beckhampton Avenue extended from the western entrance of the henge, out towards the Longstones. This being where the present evidence available indicates the avenue terminatived, even so surveys have been undertaken along the area illustrated by Stuckeley. Today the two remaining stones remain visible on agricultural land, known as Adam and Eve. Some additional pairs of natural sarsen stones stretch back towards Avebury; buried in pairs cut into the chalk subsoil either complete, or singularly where there socket holes remains.

Either Avenues have overlaid previous settlement or in this case post dates a smaller henge monument. Adam and Eve the known present termination point, was once part of a group of three upright stones which formed a cove. The previous henge monument, with its West to East axis, the builder’s associated cosmology meaning and understanding may have been lost at its abandonment. Nonetheless, the memory could have lingered within the cognitive parameters of the late Neolithic period. Specifically when the avenues became erected and pulled in the outlying monuments into a greater single one. The idea where the Beckhampton Avenue could have honoured the cosmological significance of the west/east axis on a much grander and momentous scale, by this avenue connectedness is a tempting possibility. Nonetheless, its resulting cosmological association held within the Neolithic periods or by it previous builders have left no trace. It can only be hypostasized through interdisciplinary study or be deduced individually and privately.  

An individual contribution to the Avebury Project could assist to release from the archive additional information held on this monument.

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Off site resources on the Avebury Stone Avenue

West Kennet Stone Avenue: From the avebury-web, additional details on the Avenue. 

Stone Avenue, Avebury: Report from Wessex Archaeology concerning recent finds along the Avenue during a watching brief.

Beckhampton Avenue:  Report concerning the missing stone avenue which leads to Beckhampton.

Geophysical Survey Report: Beckhampton Stone Avenue, May 1999

Beckhampton Avenue: Wikipedia entry

West Kennet Avenue report on "Human remains from Windmill Hill and West Kennet Avenue, Avebury Parish, Wiltshire, held by the Alexander Keiller Museum Dr. Ros Cleal, Curator, Alexander Keiller Museum, 2008"

 

Videos of the Avebury Stone Avenue

The Avenue - Short explenation of the Wst kennet Stone Avenue

The Avenue -  A drive alongside the Avenue heading towards Avebury

Sacred Stones -In 1996 some stones in the avenue became desecrated.

 

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