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

West Kennet

Long Barrow


Visited Avebury 22.12.02 - peaceful on West Kennet Avenue with bursts of incredible winter sunshine.

Lot of people in the village talking about "mushrooms".

Visited West Kennet Long Barrow 22.12.02 - monument filled with candles & nightlights, majority of which placed directly beside or beneath megaliths. The prolonged heat from these candles will probably damage/fissure these ancient stones. A capstone was reported cracked recently, I understand? Bottle of red wine going the rounds...

I spoke to the people at the barrow, about the danger to the monument, one of which promised to 'do something'. The others melted away into the interior of the barrow (about a dozen loosely connected people), seemed unwilling to discuss the matter [embarassed?]. Most of these guys appeared to have come from Stonehenge (solstice) from what I could discern from the conversation.

The guy (from Belgium) who'd promised to check on the nightlights soon left the barrow - as I was leaving, in fact. He didn't talk about the nightlights. I again explained the danger that fire poses to ancient stones; it was difficult to tell whether he could take what I was saying on board, although he spoke perfect English, French & Flemish.

After a while I let him continue on his way alone; I, wishing to visit the Swallowhead.

Afterwards, at the layby, I encountered about half a dozen people making their way towards the barrow. I wished them well but asked if they were to encounter candles at the monument, to please make sure none were harming the stones in any way - by directly heating them. The response seemed positive/bemused: a middle aged lady became quite defensive about her 'never using candles anyway!'

I will write to EH about adding a multilingual note to their WKLB information board, about the danger fire presents to ancient stones.

Posted by megalith6
24th December 2002ce
Edited 1st January 2003ce

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