This is another (once) local site that I haven’t visited for probably decades, but today I’m here with my sister making our way from Avebury Trusloe the day after we’d been down to Devon for an uncle’s funeral. The weather looks like it’s on the point of raining all afternoon, but today we are lucky and it holds off and the air is suffused with the fresh smell of Spring. Walking through the hamlet the first thing that strikes us is the number of large sarcens in peoples garden walls (particularly Swan house in Bray Street) and, given the proximity of Adam and Eve across the adjacent field, we can’t help wondering if some of these stones came from the Beckhampton Avenue? Maybe not as whole stones, but perhaps pieces from destroyed stones.
Making the gradual climb up to the top of Windmill Hill it seems odd that a hill as low and unremarkable as this seems to have been so important, acting as it were, as a springboard for the whole Avebury ritual landscape. So much activity in quite a small space though, as you begin to take in the faint rings of the inner circles, the lower tumuli beyond the outer circle and, most obviously, the large bell barrows nearer the centre of the monument. The position of the hill is also quite interesting as it affords views down on to Avebury (though you can’t see any stones due to the surrounding trees and vegetation, but maybe you could when it was being built), Silbury Hill to the South, the Ridgeway to the East and Cherhill Down and Oldbury to the South West.
Having walked around the outer ring we discover some recent mole activity and begin to kick over the little spoil heaps. Almost immediately I’m rewarded with a small piece of ceramic about 2.5 x 1.5cm in size and shaped roughly like the Isle of Wight. There are two very faint parallel grooves incised on its outside curve. In addition to this we find two small globules of iron that look like failed castings of musket balls (any ideas?). We sit for a while and contemplate our surroundings before making our way back down across the fields to Avebury and the circle. Just in time for tea.