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Silbury Hill

Artificial Mound


I was reading an article from WANHM (v95, 2002 - a missing drawing and an overlooked text: silbury hill archive finds) - sounds like the hole was never filled in properly. Does this mean the structure has been precarious - for centuries? Is this why EH don't feel they have to do anything immediately?

This is what I gleaned from the article:
The vertical shaft was mined in 1776, the brainchild of the Duke of Northumberland. A horizontal tunnel was later mined at the base of the hill in 1849. The Rev. WC Lukis was on hand to draw this one, but he also included a dotted line dipping like a cone into the top of the hill, indicating the entrance to the 1776 shaft was open - open to a similar depth to that which opened up in 2000?

A Dr Merewether visited with Lukis, and he recorded that there were mounds of soil on top of the hill that the miners from 1776 hadn't bothered to throw back in. You can see heaps of soil on one of Hoare's illustrations from 1821 and in a late 19thC print (these are in the article). A Major Allen took some aerial photos in the 1930s and these show the heaps too - and a dip in the ground next to them. So it seems the hole has been present to varying depths since the 1770s, and was only filled in to near the surface level in 1936. However, the filling material gradually disappeared.
In 1963 Silbury was capped with chicken wire, to prevent what was perceived to be rabbit damage. Later this wire (covered in soil and grass) actually hampered some surveys that were being done to check the state of the hole. 'The capping has now disappeared from view'.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th January 2004ce
Edited 27th April 2007ce

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