Silbury Hill is an ancient Neolithic monument one mile south west of Avebury, Wiltshire. It is 130 feet high and covers an area of over 5 acres. It is considered to be the largest man-made mound in Europe.
Silbury Hill is thought to have been begun sometime between 2500 and 2900 BC and completed in around 2400 BC, it apparently contains no burial, although early investigators thought that the hill is a massive burial mound. Composed mainly of chalk and clay excavated from the surrounding area, the mound stands 40 metres (131 ft) high and covers about 5 acres (2 ha). The base of the hill is circular and 167 metres (548 ft) in diameter. The volume of material used in it’s construction rivals the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It has been estimated that 18 million man-hours went into the building of Silbury Hill, which is the equivalent of 700 men working for 10 years.
Silbury Hill was built in three phases. The first was a mound some 20 feet (5.5 m) high, which was then capped with a covering of chalk rubble. This layer was then built up with a final covering of chalk excavated from the 25 foot deep (7m) ditch which surrounds the base of the hill.
Silbury Hill was used by the Romans and Saxons as a military lookout and possibly for burial. Related artifacts have been found dug into the surface of the mound. The hill was also used for fortification in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Silbury Hill is part of the complex of Neolithic monuments around Avebury, which includes the Avebury Ring and West Kennet Long Barrow
Silbury Hill is part of the Avebury World Heritage Site, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Silbury Hill is located close to the A4, between the towns of Marlborough and Calne between Beckhampton and West Kennet and can be reached on foot from Avebury (about 1/2 mile). There is no access to the hill itself, in order to preserve this site. There is free parking for around 15 cars, close to the monument.
Phone: 01672/539250 (National Trust Avebury)
Postcode: SN8 1QH
OSGB grid reference SU099685
More information: http://www.avebury-web.co.uk/silbury_hill.html