Avebury Ring from the air showing site of missing stones in parch marks
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aerial photograph of Avebury stone circle and Neolithic henge monument in Avebury Wiltshire England UK showing site of missing stones in parch marks during the drought of 2018 . Archaeological evidence has shown that the area around Avebury has been occupied since the Mesolithic period with find of flint tools dating between 4000 BC and 7000 BC. It may be that these Mesolithic inhabitants built the first structures on the site and post holes have been found which could date from this period however there is little firm dating evidence to explain the exact chronology of the site. There are several distinct monuments on the site including the inner stone circle, outer stone circle the avenues. These may have been constructed separately over generations between 2400 BC and 3000 BC. The henge ( the circular bank and ditch surrounding the site ) has been radio carbon dated to around 2500 BC. The henge was a massive undertaking for the Neolithic Culture and required the movement of 165,000 tons of material and resulting in a henge 4 times bigger than anything else known from this period. The ditch was originally much deeper, probably around 10 meters deep and may have served a defensive purpose. The outer stone circle was built between 2200 BC and 2870 BC. It is the largest prehistoric stone circle in Britain and one of the largest in the world. The site had largely fallen out of use by the bronze age but was regularly visited even during the roman period. During the medieval period attempts were made to demolish the monument for religious reasons with many of the larger stones being pushed into ditches. During one such occurrence one of the demolishers was crushed underneath one of the larger stones where he remained until excavated by archaeologists in 1928 who were able to date his misfortune by the coins in his purse which dated to around 1320.Today the site a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a World Heritage Site, in the care of the National Trust. This image was taken during the heat wave of 2018 and the drought conditions reveal hidden archaeology, with the site of several missing stones showing up as parch marks in the photograph.
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