Windmill Hill, Avebury

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
State Party =
Type = Cultural
Criteria = i, ii, iii
ID = 373
Region = Europe and North America
Year = 1986
Session = 10th
Link = http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/373

Windmill Hill is a Neolithic causewayed enclosure in the English county of Wiltshire, situated around 1 mile (2 km) north west of Avebury. It is the largest example of its type in the British IslesFact|date=May 2008 enclosing an area of 85,000 square metres. The site was first occupied around 3800 BC although the only evidence is a series of pits apparently dug by an agrarian society using Hembury pottery.

During a later phase, c. 3300 BC, three concentric segmented ditches were placed around the hilltop site, the outermost with a diameter of 365 metres. The causeways interrupting the ditches vary in width from a few centimetres to 7 m. Material from the ditches was piled up to create internal banks, the deepest ditches and largest banks are on the outer circuit.

The site was excavated in 1926 by Harold St George Gray whose work established it as the type-site for causewayed camps as they were then called.

Pottery from the bottom of the ditches was also the type style for the Windmill Hill culture. Later occupation layers contained early Peterborough ware then the later Mortlake and Fengate varieties. Large quantities of bone, both human and animal were also recovered from the ditch fill. The camp remained in use throughout the rest of the Neolithic with Grooved ware and Beaker potsherds having been found in later deposits. A Bronze Age bell barrow was later built between the inner and middle rings.

Michael Dames (see "References") put forward a composite theory of seasonal rituals, in an attempt to explain Windmill Hill and its associated sites (West Kennet Long Barrow, the Avebury henge, The Sanctuary and Silbury Hill).

Location

Windmill Hill is located at Ordnance Survey mapping six-figure grid reference SU 087714

References

* Vatcher, Faith de M & Vatcher, Lance 1976 "The Avebury Monuments" - Department of the Environment HMSO
* Dames, Michael 1977 "The Avebury Cycle" Thames & Hudson Ltd, London

*gbmapping|SU087714


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