The henge of Avebury It is one of the largest and most famous megalithic monuments in Neolithic European. Located in the plain of Salisbury, in the county of Wiltshire (England), the circle of stones The world's largest was built about 5,000 years ago and is even older than the Stonehenge, which is located just a few kilometers away.
Although no one yet knows for sure what the significance of these monuments is, a group of archeologists has just discovered that Avebury could be built in the same place as a home plus ancient, with which the whole complex would commemorate a relatively modest housing much older.
The henge of Avebury It is one of the largest and most famous megalithic monuments in Neolithic European
According to a study published this Wednesday in the magazine Antiquity
, this enormous form of commemorating a domestic building would have begun a process that continued for centuries and in which more and more details were added to the construction. The authors conclude that there may be other Neolithic houses below Avebury, with great potential for future studies.
"Enclosed in the" deepest "of the henge, we suppose that it was the connections that this old building had with a significant lineage, perhaps a founder, which led it to acquire historical importance and for the site to be transformed from a daily place to a sacred one, "the researchers write. .
The process of building a Neolithic monument on a house is documented evidence in other spaces. In Hazleton North (Gloucestershire), for example, before the fourth millennium BC, a tomb was built on an old dwelling. "The Avebury house may have lasted only a generation or two, but the collapsed walls probably left a visible earth movement that was subsequently carefully respected," they say.
This monumental complex, declared a World Heritage Site in 1986, is made up of multiple stone circles, a land movement of 420 meters in diameter and twin paired avenues of stones. The problem is that this space has been much less studied than that of Stonehenge. The last important excavation was, for example, in the 1930s.
This complex, declared a World Heritage Site in 1986, is made up of multiple stone circles
Archaeologists Mark Gilligins, Joshua Pollard and Kristian Strutt argue that the events prior to the earth movements carried out around the year 2,500 BC had "a direct relationship with the later development of the monument". According to his analyzes, everything would have begun at the end of the fourth millennium before Christ.
"At that time there was significant activity in the region where Avebury was finally built. Archaeological evidence shows that there were several scattered and small settlements, which slowly joined after 3700 BC, and that the material footprints of these spaces were used as a reference both in the building and in the vicinity of the monument.
The researcher Alexander Keiller excavated the inner circle in 1939 and, before the Second World War interrupted his work, discovered a series of details in the monument, including ravines, pits and pits just north of a vertical stone to which known as the Obelisk.
At first, it was believed that these characteristics were introduced in medieval times, something that Gilligins and his collaborators discard. "Medieval ceramics were never found in the area and this is a structure remarkably similar to that of the smaller early Neolithic houses found in Britain and Ireland," they say.
This is a structure similar to early Neolithic houses found in Great Britain and Ireland
To obtain more data on the connection between the house and other characteristics of Avebury, the researchers used a radar to study the ground and detect hidden sandstone stones (sarsen). This is how they found several anomalies that indicate possible previous megaliths and other characteristics that would indicate that the monument followed the main axes of the house.
Hence, archaeologists now propose a sequence of construction that would begin with the Neolithic dwelling, which would be followed by the obelisk and, later, a circle of stones erected on the previous building. Then the south inner circle and radial lines would have appeared. "It is possible that this activity is distributed for 1,500 years, from the early Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age," they conclude.