Avebury Stone Circles Maximum Card - Ancient Britain
Stamp: Avebury Stone Circles, £1.33, issued 17 January 2017
Card: Stones in the Large, Main Circle, National Trust 81816
Postmark: First day of issue Avebury, Marlborough 17.1.2017
LOCATION: Avebury, Near Marlborough, Wiltshire, England PUBLIC ACCESS: National Trust and English Heritage
With a more settled lifestyle came changes to how society was organised, and perhaps also religious beliefs. With food surpluses it was possible to organise peoples labour away from subsistence activities. From around 3000BC saw the building of large monuments in the UK, either earthworks or the more familiar circles of stones and standing stones. One of the most impressive and one of the largest in Europe is at Avebury in Wiltshire. Building commenced in around 2500BC there are a total of three circles and avenues of standing stones plus associated earthworks.Four entrances give access to the flat central space some 350m (383yd) across which once contained a series of stone structures, comprising 98 unworked pillars of local sarsen stone. Within there were two further circles. The southern circle of 29 pillars surrounded a single standing stone or obelisk. The northern circle of 27 pillars surrounded a cove of three massive uprights forming the sides of a box-like structure open to the northeast. The massive earthworks possibly served to contain powerful spirits while providing a grandstand from which to observe ceremonies inside the henge. At least two of the entrances link with stone-lined avenues defining pathways out into the landscape that connect Avebury with nearby monuments and the River Kennet. The Neolithic sites of Avebury and Stonehenge are in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.