Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Avebury

AVEBURY, a village of England, in the county of Wilts, 6 miles W. of Marlborough. It occupies the site of

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one of the most remarkable megalithic structures in England. This consisted of a large outer circle formed of 100 stones of from 15 to 17 feet in height, and about 40 feet in circumference, enclosing an area of about 1000 feet in diameter. This circle was surrounded by a broad ditch and lofty rampart. Within its area were two smaller circles, 350 and 325 feet in diameter respectively, each consisting of a double concentric row of stones, a stone pillar or niaenhir, 20 feet high, occupying the centre of the one, and a cromlech or dolmen that of the other. A long avenue of approach, now known as the Kennet Avenue, consisting of a double row of stones, branched off from this structure towards the S.E. for a distance of 1430 yards. Few traces of this immense erection now remain the stones having been broken down and used in the construc tion of the houses of the village, and for other purposes. In the vicinity are two other monuments of great impor tance, which may bo regarded as belonging to the same group, namely, the double oval of megaliths on Hakpen Hill Haca s pen and the artificial mound known as Silbury Hill. The Hakpen oval was, according to Stuke- ley, 138 feet by 155, and had an avenue 45 feet wide stretching in the direction of Silbury Hill. This hill is due south from Avebury, and the distance from the centre of the circle to the centre of the mound is very nearly one Roman mile. Much discussion has taken place about the age and object of these constructions, the most popular theory hitherto being that which ascribed them to the Druids, and thus got rid of historic difficulties by escaping into the region of the prehistoric. Recently, Mr Fergussori has strenuously maintained that the larger circle, or Avebury proper, and Silbury Hill, commemorate the last of the twelve Arthurian battles, which was fought (520 A.D.) at Badon Hill, a name which he identifies with Waden Hill.