West Kennet Long Barrow, Avebury

4.8
#2 of 10 in Things to do in Avebury
The West Kennet Long Barrow is a Neolithic tomb or barrow, situated on a prominent chalk ridge, near Silbury Hill, one-and-a-half miles south of Avebury in Wiltshire, England. The site was recorded by John Aubrey in the 17th century and by William Stukeley in the 18th century.
Archaeologists classify it as a chambered long barrow and one of the Severn-Cotswold tombs. It has two pairs of opposing transept chambers and a single terminal chamber used for burial. The stone burial chambers are located at one end of one of the longest barrows in Britain at 100 m: in total it is estimated that 15,700 man-hours were expended in its construction. The entrance consists of a concave forecourt with a facade made from large slabs of sarsen stones which were placed to seal entry.
The construction of the West Kennet Long Barrow commenced about 3600 BC, which is some 400 years before the first stage of Stonehenge, and it was in use until around 2500 BC. The mound has been damaged by indiscriminate digging, but archaeological excavations in 1859 and 1955-56 found at least 46 burials, ranging from babies to elderly persons. The bones were disarticulated with some of the skulls and long bones missing. It has been suggested that the bones were removed periodically for display or transported elsewhere with the blocking facade being removed and replaced each time. Recent re-analysis of the dating evidence suggests that the 46 people all died within 20 – 30 years of each other, and that the tomb was open for 1,000 years.
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West Kennet Long Barrow Reviews
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4.7
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  • You walk in 15 minutes from the A4 parking lot to this grave hill. You can walk around it, but also a short distance away. Take a flashlight with you. Nice view over the area and the Silbury Hill. Also check out the village of Avebury. Love!
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  • Many people get to Stonehenge and turn over to Avebury is certainly so important and beautiful-and still free so buy empty that visitors center
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  • You'll only need 20 to 30 minutes to visit this site, and most of that time is walking over to it. It's easy to get to with a layby nearby and a well worn path to it. The path is slightly uphill and is over a field. You can walk into the end of the burial chamber and look around. It's amazing to get so close to history like this and sit and ponder what our ancient ancestors were doing. From here you can also see Silbury Hill, another place that you can't help but wonder what motivated them to build when they had no power tools and needed to spend most of their time simply surviving.
  • Really interesting, can get busy on the weekends. There is a bit of a walk to the long barrow but is is a beautiful one. The parking is a layby on the side of the road or if you go on a bit further, there is a car park for Silbury Hill with a path to walk back along.
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