The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

West Kennett Avenue

Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue


Details of the Avenue on Pastscape

(SU 10326975 to SU 11846802) Stone Avenue (NR) (remains of)
In the main part of the West Kennett stone avenue there are 27 upright stones with heights ranging from 1.6 metres to 3.3 metres. Sites of stones are marked by 37 concrete pillars. (The modern spelling, signposts etc., is "Kennett", replacing the earlier "Kennet". Resurveyed at 1/2500.
The West Kennet stone avenue links the henge enclosure and stone circle complex at Avebury (SU 16 NW 22) with the Stone circle site known as the Sanctuary (SU 16 NW 102) on Overton Hill, running in an approximately south-easterly direction from the former to the latter. The course followed is by no means a direct one, with notable changes in direction as the Avenue approaches both Avebury and the Sanctuary. Excavations by Keiller in the 1930s focussed particularly on the northern end of the avenue as it approached Avebury, and resulted in the re-erection of some fallen stones and the marking out on the ground of the positions of stones no longer extant in this area. A Neolithic occupation site was also discovered alongside the stones (SU 16 NW 39). (4) Human remains and pottery, including part of a Beaker, have been found beneath some stones or in some stone holes. (4-5) Ucko et al (6) report on geophysical survey along sections of the avenue which suggests a more irregular course than previously thought. They also examine antiquarian accounts in detail.
The probably mistaken suggestion that a cove once stood within the avenue is discussed by Ucko et al (6) and (Burl) (7). (6-7) [See SU 16 NW 22 and 102 for more detailed bibliography. See SU 06
NE 62 for details of the Beckhampton stone avenue, which allegedly ran from Avebury's western entrance.]
An RCHME 1:2500 scale, level 3 air photographic interpretation survey (Event UID 936869) was carried out on this monument in January 1992. The monument is extant and no changes were made to the record. The archive created by this project (Collection UID 936807) is held by RCHME. (8)
West Kennett Avenue is formed by two roughly parallel rows of standing sarsen stones dating to around 3000 BC. The Avenue winds its way across the landscape east of Waden Hill and the River Kennett for a distance of about 2.3 km. In the best preserved 800 metre section there are 27 upright stones. Some of these have been restored to their original positions and in other locations there are concrete markers showing where stones are originally likely to have been positioned. The two rows stand on average 15 metres apart with the stones in each row about 20 metres apart. In 1913, a burial was found in the socket pit beneath one of the stones and further pits and features have been found within the line of the avenue or in close proximity. Keiller uncovered an occupation site containing hearths, rubbish pits, pottery sherds and other remains. At the southern end of the Avenue is a linear earthwork bank, which is believed to be associated with medieval management of the Kennet Valley. However it's location could indicate an earlier origin. The bank runs for about 320 metres and is 7 metres wide and up to a metre high. In the area between the Avenue and River Kennet there have been numerous finds including stone axes, pottery, Romano-British jewellery and coins.(9)
Chance Posted by Chance
29th October 2012ce

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