Aldershot dating

It is now listed as part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site.

Pollen is poorly preserved in the chalky soils found around Avebury, so the best evidence for the state of local environment at any time in the past comes from the study of the deposition of snail shells.

Different species of snail live in specific habitats, so the presence of a certain species indicates what the area was like at a particular point in time.

These developments allowed hunter-gatherers to settle down and produce their own food. At the same time, they also erected the first monuments to be seen in the local landscape, an activity interpreted as evidence of a change in the way people viewed their place in the world.

Based on anthropological studies of recent and contemporary societies, Gillings and Pollard suggest that forests, clearings, and stones were important in Neolithic culture, not only as resources but as symbols; the site of Avebury occupied a convergence of these three elements.

In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, local people destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons.

The antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley, however, took an interest in Avebury during the 17th century, and recorded much of the site before its destruction.

Its original purpose is unknown, although archaeologists believe that it was most likely used for some form of ritual or ceremony.

The Avebury monument is a part of a larger prehistoric landscape containing several older monuments nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill.

The change to a grassland environment from damp, heavy soils and expanses of dense forest was mostly brought about by farmers, probably through the use of slash and burn techniques.

Environmental factors may also have made a contribution.

The archaeologists Mark Gillings and Joshua Pollard suggested the possibility that Avebury first gained some sort of ceremonial significance during the Late Mesolithic period.

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