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

Devil's Den

Chambered Tomb


Well worth a visit if you have arrived at Avebury during rush hour, and could do with connecting to the past and the environment and would like to have a one-to-one experience.
If you want to touch the dolmen, you will have to trespass.
Although I have the utmost respect for St. Julian, the MA is quite selective at times regarding condition of sites. This dolmen has some spectacularly intrusive restoration, in particular the large concrete slab which shores up one side of the base of the monument, and that it was re-erected according to Dyer 'Discovering Prehistoric England' in 1921.
That said, it is a beautiful, and peaceful location. From reading the posts on this site and my own experience of trying to find a footpath nearby where the land owner(s) had left an overgrown unwalkable 12" death-strip between two barbed wire fences as a sorry excuse for a public right of way, access to our heritage is not high on their agenda.
All that is there now are two uprights and the enormous capstone. On the footpath which runs alongside the field containing the dolmen are several very large stones, which are almost certainly those featured in Stukeley's illustrations from the 1720s showing the dolmen with 3 to 4 other large stones around it. We stood on the one nearest to the barbed wire fence to get a better look at the dolmen (and possible landowners) and discovered that some delightful soul had thoughtfully cut away a section of barbed wire.
The precariousness of the capstone is wonderful, even though upon closer inspection it is concreted to the supports with no attempt at subtlety. No hint of the earthen long barrow remains. Stukeley's illustrations show the stones set upon a mound, but this is no longer visible. Intriguingly the site hasn't been excavated, but it has been plowed level for so many years now I'm not surprised.
Posted by elderford
29th September 2002ce

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