Silbury… four and a half thousand years later and we still don’t know why it’s there

One of the most mysterious and remarkable places in the whole of the Wiltshire megalithic area which encompasses Avebury and further away, Stonehenge, is Silbury Hill. It is one of the few places which despite enormous amounts of archaeological research, going back over centuries and with all the latest technology, no-one really knows why it was there or what its purpose was. Nothing seems to have been buried there, there seems to be no cairn or other site beneath it. There may have been a wooden pole, maybe like a totem pole round which the structure was built, but no modern evidence of this has been found, only reports in eighteenth century newspapers.

It is the largest man-made mound in the whole of Europe; if you put it next to a pyramid in Egypt it would be just about the same height and volume, and was actually constructed at a similar time, about four and a half thousand years ago, in about 2400 BC.

It must have been a very important and significant monument – think of the amount of time and people it would have taken to construct it. the society must have been rich and peaceful at the time to be able to devote that amount of labour to building something which had no practical purpose, whatever its religious or spiritual significance.


If you are ever in the area, it is really worth visiting; you ae not allowed to walk up it, but you can walk round it, and from there it is an easy stroll to the Avebury complex.


  1. David Lewis

    It was probably a make work project of the time. While all the disgruntled are kept busy they don’t have the time or the energy to plot an insurrection. That’s my take on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      They have! But it is such a delicate feature – much damage was done in previous excavations, even in recent times a disastrous investigation caused much damage! Maybe future technology will be able to remotely penetrate it and discover exciting new things!


      1. Carl D'Agostino

        Yes ,takes very well trained archaeologists and protections from looters. One of my favorite time periods of study is post Roman Britain. Reading Jack Whyte’s Camulod Chronicles series started my interest. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a bunch of coins in a farm field !

        Liked by 1 person

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