Following the publication of Singing up the Country: The Songlines of Avebury and Beyond (Heart of Albion Press, 2011), in his latest book Bob Trubshaw goes Beyond the Henge and explores the prehistoric landscape surrounding the Great Circle of Avebury.
Most visitors to Southern England in search of ancient megalithic sites inevitably arrive at the world famous site of Stonehenge. Few make the additional thirty mile journey north to see the stone circles and massive henge around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire. When the 17th century antiquarian John Aubrey came upon the Great Circle at Avebury he described it being far superior to Stonehenge, writing that it was like ‘comparing a cathedral to a parish church’.
Yet the massive Neolithic monument was nearly lost to us. Many of the megaliths at Avebury were felled and buried or broken up in burning pits by Christian Zealots in not so distant times. Fortunately during the 17th century John Aubrey and William Stukeley recorded much of the site before its destruction and Alexander Keiller reconstructed much of the monument in the 20th century. Avebury is now owned and run by the National Trust and has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and afforded the ultimate protection as a World Heritage Site, the UNESCO schedule encompassing the wider prehistoric landscape of Wiltshire known as Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites.
Of those that do arrive at Avebury few visitors go beyond the massive Neolithic henge surrounding the village and explore the other prehistoric sites nearby in the World Heritage Site.
Bob Trubshaw's latest book is an attempt to get the visitor Beyond the Henge and explore that wider prehistoric landscape around Avebury. This book is essentially a guide to four different walks of between one and six miles which take in all the significant surviving archaeological sites Beyond the Henge of Avebury. Three of the walks focus on the Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments while the fourth walk explores Avebury's Anglo-Saxon and medieval origins.
On his travels Beyond the Henge, Bob is accompanied by his fictional friend Simon as they set forth from the Great Circle of Avebury to its precursors on Windmill Hill and West Kennett long barrow, then on to later monuments such as Silbury Hill.
On the journey the author introduces ideas about the changing lifestyles and beliefs of the prehistoric people who built these ancient monuments. Using a unique conversational style of writing, discussing with his companion many of the ideas currently being proposed by prehistorians.
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