Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Kennet Avenue.

The West Kennet Avenue is 2.4 Km long and runs between The Sanctuary and Avebury.

Sad to say, only the Avebury section has stones.
A restoration made by Alexander Keiler in the late 1930s.

Originally the stones were dragged there from Fyfield and set in position, probably during the Late Neolithic period. People were buried at the foot of some of the stones, with beakers (capital B as in Bronze Age Beakers).

The dead so often an essential aspect of monuments...
Given to the stones.
Becoming the stones?

There was Grooved ware
(there is always Grooved ware).
A Cornish axe.

The stone that makes fire -flint.
Given- or if you like 'deposited'.

The empowerment of a land enriched with memory.

I hadn't noticed before, but the flint along the Ridgeway down towards the Avenue, looked blue inside...not black.

And it is reasonable to believe that the Avenue took quite some time to complete
Avebury to The Sanctuary- with The Sanctuary constructed during the mid-third millennium BC.

Now I do not have any map in my possession that tells me either where the Avenue goes after the stones end (nor one that has the G numbers- Grinsell- for the barrows. Very frustrating!).

But if you look at Google maps, you can see traces in the land that look like the Avenue's path.

I high-lighted the way I believe it to have gone
In yellow.

But for our expedition this time, we used The Ridgeway and looked for foot-paths down to the road.

Google maps gives the impression that walking along the old way would not be easy.

We began our trip with a visit to Tesco's where we bought bread filled with walnuts and sultanas and to go with it, some cheese, oranges and bananas.

I filled the car with petrol and headed for the motorway.
At this point the sky was grey
It looked like rain.

The Sanctuary was more or less deserted as usual.

We crossed the road
The sun was very hot.

And began walking up The Ridgeway.
In theory you could walk all the way to The White Horse at Uffington.

You would need tough shoes!
The path is strewn with loose flint.

The landscape is truly beautiful though.

After 0.4 miles (the sign post tells us so)
We turned left at the sign-post and headed towards that clump of trees.

A bowl barrow that was graced with beech trees planted there by someone in the late 17th century.

This place has become for me a real sanctuary.
Only two months ago I sat on one of the stones beside the barrow, under the trees,
(eating Parma violets) after watching the midsummer sun at The Sanctuary.
I was so cold!

5:30 am Midsummer at SU 220758.
The trees sheltered me from the un-seasonable,  ice-cold wind.

But today -Sunday 18th August- was possibly the hottest day of the year.

On our return journey this day from The Avenue, we sat here shaded from the sun.
Drinking water, eating oranges.

It is hard to track down the G number for this barrow (G as in Grinsell).

I think it may be G 29?
Its SU number is 220758.

No one is too sure what was found when the top of it was desecrated excavated.
English Heritage say:  Avebury 29, bowl barrow, 2 paces x 6 ft. Excavated by Colt Hoare:
probable primary cremation and incense cup in an oblong cist. Excavations located a cremation in the bowl barrow. Note that earlier sources, principally Smith and Goddard, suggest that the cremation came from Avebury 30 (SU 16 NW 48). The Owen Meyrick Collection in Devizes Museum contains a single Beaker sherd plus one other indeterminate sherd, both attributed to Avebury 29.

We turned left, off the path and skirted around the edge of two fields punctuated by a miserably large clump of stinging nettles.

I was very glad not to be wearing sandals.

The border between the fields and the road was punctuated by this fearsome piece of agricultural equipment!

I climbed over.
Crossed the road.

Opened the gate.

And we were at The Avenue.

We found a wide stone and gratefully accepted the blessing of shadow.
Here we sat, eating and drinking and feeling slightly perturbed by the cows!

Here is the journey with movement and sound.