The largest man-made mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids. Probably completed in around 2400 BC, it apparently contains no burial. Though clearly important in itself, its purpose and significance remain unknown.
Silbury Hill is part of the Avebury World Heritage Site, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Read more about the history of Silbury Hill.
Before You Go
Parking: There is free parking for around 15 cars. There are no designated disabled spaces and it cannot accommodate coaches or minibuses.
Other Information: Information panels in the viewing area give insight into the history and construction of this fascinating structure.
Please Be Aware: There is no public access to the hill in order to protect the site and its sensitive archaeology.
Plan a Great Day Out
The best way to explore Avebury and its various sites is on foot. You should wear appropriate footwear and prepare for the weather.
Begin your visit at the Alexander Keiller Museum to find out about the six sites within the care of English Heritage and their significance, including Avebury Stone Circle, The Sanctuary, West Kennet Avenue, West Kennet Long Barrow and Windmill Hill.
Toilets and a cafe are available near the museum in Avebury.
Late Neolithic, about 2470 BCOrigins
The hill begins as a small, low mound of gravel, perhaps brought from the river Kennet.
Find out more about the history of Silbury Hill
About 2350 BCConstruction Completed
After about 100 years the hill is completed as a much larger mound, surrounded by a massive ditch.
AD 43-410Roman Use
The Romans use the hill as a lookout while working on their new road from Mildenhall to Bath.
10th-11th centuriesDefensive Purpose
The top of Silbury is probably flattened and fortified, with a defensive building constructed on the summit.
A skeleton from the Saxon period is discovered during tree-planting on the summit.
Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, pays Edward Drax to dig a vertical shaft from the summit, expecting to find a central burial. Drax fails to find one.
John Merewether, Dean of Hereford, oversees the excavation of a horizontal tunnel.
Professor Richard Atkinson leads a major investigation for the BBC. He identifies three phases of hill construction.
2000An Unfortunate Legacy
A crater 14 metres deep opens on the summit. The excavation tunnels are found to be collapsing.
English Heritage commissions Skanska Civil Engineering to stabilise Silbury. Archaeologists briefly re-enter Atkinson's tunnel before 1,465 tonnes of chalk refill all voids.
Read more about research on Silbury Hill
Post-excavation work is completed and English Heritage publishes the results of the investigations into the hill.
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