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Waden Hill

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


Julian Cope, in his essays in the TMA book, notes how the young Kennet river nestles along the western side of Waden Hill. He suggests that Waden Hill is actually the first hill of the Avebury complex - the long hill whose shape might have inspired the longbarrows. Whether this is true, it certainly seems to have been given an important name by the Saxons - Waden Hill - or maybe Woden's, Odin's Hill - he being the god of creation of Norse myth. Could this be recognition of the hill's previous or continuing importance at the heart of the landscape?

A more tangible theory is that of the 'Silbury Game', which is dependent on the angle and height of Waden Hill as one walks along the last 4 or so miles of the Ridgeway towards the Sanctuary. As you may have seen demonstrated in Julian's TV programme, the effect is, that as you walk, the summit of Silbury Hill appears to ride on the back of Waden Hill - and this would have been all the more obvious when the chalk of the hill was white and fresh.

Waden Hill has/had a number of Bronze Age round barrows on it, and perhaps they would have later added to the effect? remaining stationary as Silbury Hill moved. (The EH record -via the Magic website - says that there were once 9 barrows on Waden Hill, but now only one is visible).

The north end still has round barrows, but a drawing by Stukeley shows a barrow on the south end. There are no traces of this on the ground now, but when it was excavated when a sewer was being put in, the snail shells that were found there showed that the barrow had been constructed in an established grazed downland.
(Archaeology in the Avebury Area. Wessex Arch. Rpt. no 8 1996)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th September 2003ce
Edited 7th April 2009ce

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