Avebury is situated between Swindon, Marlborough and Calne, just off the A4. It’s a small village which is surrounded by a pre-historic stone circle of huge archeological importance, and there are many other well-preserved pre-historic sites in the area. As a result Avebury is one of less than twenty British regions which has World Heritage Site status, and millions of visitors come each year to see the stones and the village.
Many of the Avebury players live in Avebury Trusloe which is the neighboring village, but the cricket pitch is just outside the high bank of the circle in the south-west corner of the village. The bank is just the right height for strolling tourists to get in the way of the batsman’s line of sight if the bowler is coming from the circle side. Very rarely a ball will be hit for six over the bank and into the dyke, but its a big challenge.
An enormous bank and ditch enclose a 400 metre diameter circle of some 100 standing stones. Within this circle are other megalithic settings, smaller circles and the remains of enormous stone settings. Reaching out from Avebury, like tendrils were sinuous avenues of paired standing stones that reached out into a landscape remarkable for the dynamism, scale and density of monumental construction. In the immediate landscape surrounding Avebury is a range of prehistoric monuments including the enormous mound of Silbury Hill, the timber and stone circles of the Sanctuary and palisade enclosures at West Kennet, not to mention the Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure and numerous long mounds, monuments that were already ancient when the Avebury stone circles were being erected. It is no surprise that the spectacular scale and density of Neolithic monuments in the Avebury landscape has attracted the interest of antiquarians and archaeologists alike, the site occupying a central role in the shaping of accounts of the British Neolithic.
However, despite the quality of its surviving remains (and over 300 years of often heated debate, research and speculation) far more questions about the site remain unanswered than answered. For example we still lack a satisfactory understanding of the chronology and precise order in which the various components were constructed. The same is true of the surrounding landscape.
This was taken from the University of Southampton’s Negotiating Avebury archeological project.