Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow

October 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

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Another wonderful October weekend – a sudden drop in temperature and the trees were shivering and changing to Autumnal colour and immediately dumping their leaves, almost overnight. Why do trees get naked when they feel cold?! We humans by contrast, wrap up!

We explored Silbury Hill from all angles (one of my favourite places on earth) and neighbouring West Kennet Long Barrow…and of course Rolo wanted to be involved in everything! What I love about Silbury Hill is that it has been dated to around 2500BC but no one really knows what it’s all about. It’s not a burial chamber, more of a prehistoric landfill site. Carefully constructed over generations, and it has recently been discovered that The Mound in Marlborough College is of a similar age and possibly the two featured in some kind of ritual water worship as both are in proximity of underground springs. Fascinating stuff!
Over the centuries, 3 tunnels have been built to try to discover the purpose of the hill but they undermined the structure and in 2000 desperate measures were taken by English Heritage to fill the sinking donut with polystyrene blocks to stabilise it. It is now forbidden to climb the hill, but Wiltshire sheep can’t read the signs.

From the English Heritage Website;

‘At present, it is known only that Silbury was built in the late Neolithic around 2,400 BC.

It stands at 30 metres high and 160 metres wide,(same size roughly as the Great Pyramid at Giza) and its construction is estimated to have involved roughly 4 million man-hours of work. 500,000 tonnes of material were used; mostly chalk, quarried and cleared from the surrounding terraces and ditches.

The enduring presence of Silbury Hill in the landscape has inspired myths and legends as people have sought to explain its purpose.

In one such legend, Silbury is the burial mound of a mythical King Zel and his horse. The mound is also associated with pagan beliefs and earth mysteries’.

The Long Barrow just across the busy A4 has several underground chambers, and nearly skeletons of all ages have been excavated, dating from 3000 to 2500 BC. Its a marvellous example of a neolithic burial chamber and easily accessible, albeit slightly creepy.


Entry filed under: Rolo, travel. Tags: , , .

Films in the Town Hall Autumn woods and skies

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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