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Artificial Mound


"Silbaby" was noted (or "re-discovered"?) and named by Pete Glastonbury. It's not thought to be modern, and is apparently artificial (but that's as far as it seems safe to go). The site is posted here, not because it's known to qualify, but because no-one seems to have established that such a thing is impossible. Silbaby is currently subject to fly tipping, which is ruining its (possibly important) shape.

Marked on old maps as "the Girt Bank" and possibly sketched by Stukeley (we think) it must have been seen by many archaeologists and thousands of tourists, yet no-one seems to have considered it noteworthy. Yet, as can be seen from the pictures, it's worth a second look, and a third.

Interesting factoids, to aid any "unwarranted speculation" as an expert might term it's presence here: it's slopes equate precisely with Silbury's, it's exactly on a line between Silbury and The Sanctuary and is co-visible with both, it has a sarsen lying on it, a spring at it's base, a "moat" round it and a flat flood plain adjoining it. So far, we can find no expert attribution or even mention of it, and it's currently being liberally fly tipped.

Apart from the fact that dumping stuff in a WHS should be stopped, expert reassurance that this place is of no archaeological significance would seem to be urgently required and would be gratefully received.
nigelswift Posted by nigelswift
23rd November 2004ce
Edited 30th November 2004ce

Comments (3)

I was most intrigued by this mound, so had a look at this area on the Old Maps website. The earliest map they list which clearly shows the area is 1886-7 and shows a small range of buildings in a small enclosure to the west of the site, with a well marked to the immediate south of the buildings. The river Kennet is shown, and seems to extend flow past the site and off to the south-east, but has an extension west along what would seem to be the southern boundary of the mound. The key thing to note here is that the Waden Mound is NOT shown in any way or form, but the road cutting nearby is shown (therefore the map-makers could and did show steeply sloping ground were it present).

The 1900 map is broadly similar, except for corrections of about 20' upwards on all the spot-heights.

From then on including the 1961 map, everything looks pretty much the same on the maps, and absolutely NO mound is shown.

The earliest time I can see the steep ground associated with the Silbaby mound is 1978; on this map the road cutting appears much larger as well, and the buildings on the west of the site disappear to be covered by the western edge of the dumped mound material.

My working hypothesis at present is thoroughly depressing: I think Silbaby is nothing more than the debris dump from an episode of road widening, dumped willy-nilly in no particular order. I don't think it is any older than 1960 at the earliest, and is possibly as young as the mid 1970s. This does not mean that there is nothing there; certainly in such a water-poor area as this the Waden Spring is worthy of further investigation, but I am highly dubious about the antiquity of the Silbaby mound.
Posted by Dan1701
14th June 2012ce
Does Silbaby have the same angle of slope on all sides like Silbury? It's not easy to work out from the pics posted on here. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
14th June 2012ce
Wasn't there news that some sort of formal investigation going to be carried out in the 'near future'?
Can remember by who or whether it ever happened so I am not a lot of help really am I!

scubi63 Posted by scubi63
14th June 2012ce
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