The Sanctuary

on 14 November 2017.

the sanctuary

In the guardianship of English Heritage, The Sanctuary forms part of the huge Avebury Neolithic Complex of standing stones and ritual sites. It once consisted of a stone circle large enough to contain the outer ring at Stonehenge, and is also peppered with post holes which once held large upright timbers.

Situated on Overton Hill in Wiltshire, the Sanctuary is connected to the stone circle at Avebury by the 25m wide and 2.5km long Kennet Avenue, a parade of stones, many now missing, which connected the raised and highly visible area of the Sanctuary to the lower lying stone circle.

Drawn in the 1700’s by William Stuckley. the Sanctuary consisted of twin stone circles which appeared as the terminal of the Kennet Avenue. Stuckely believed Avebury to be a mysterious Druidic site so he called the Sanctuary, the ‘Serpents Head’ or Hakpen.

Excavated in 1930 by Maud and Ben Cunnington, it became apparent that the Sanctuary had evolved in several stages. Firstly, it was a collection of large timber posts which may have been freestanding or acted as the supports for a large thatched structure, and over time these posts were replaced by stones to form a large stone circle.

The Sanctuary’s true purpose is now lost in the mists of time, but the excavation of large amounts of human bone suggest it played an important part in funerary practices.

In modern day Mumbai Zoroastrians ‘expose’ the bodies of their dead to the sky in high towers leaving the dead to be picked clean by vultures. The long bones and skulls that were entered in the East and West Kennet Long Barrows may well have been the result of this practice, the dead being placed on platforms atop of the Hill

To this day large birds of prey such as buzzards and red kites wheel above Hakpen Hill, perhaps due to some ancestral memory of their distant relatives feasting on the exposed bodies of the residents of Avebury.

For more details, click here.

Move over Black Friday, it’s time for Saturday Sanctuary!
In the run up to the notorious Black Friday event, the high street will teem with anxious shoppers hustling and bustling through the local stores for the best bargains running up to Christmas.

Come Dine With Hungerford - seeking local contestants
It is the nation’s favourite tea time show and it’s coming to our doorstep to film the next series of this classic TV show!

The big Hungerford switch on
It’s that time of year again and Hungerford’s magical switch-on event is back! This fairy tale event has become a favourite in the family calendar and this year is no exception.

BMW donated for a good cause
SWIFT Medics are trained volunteer pre-hospital emergency care doctors who attend road traffic accidents and medical emergencies in Wiltshire when an incident is so serious that the NHS ambulance team needs the help of an appropriately qualified Doctor at the scene.

In conversation with Masterchef’s Ollie Hunter
Ollie Hunter is a local celebrity after reaching the semi-finals of Masterchef 2013, a programme that attracts around 5 million viewers.

Blissed-out at Inglewood
You know when your trusted hairdresser of ten years tells you he’s found a good spa that you need to sit up and take notice.

Avebury
Avebury is a henge monument (which is an ancient place surrounded by a bank and ditch) and is the world’s largest prehistoric stone circle, originally comprising of some 100 standing stones, with two inner stone circles.

Three swans open for business again and looking fabulous
After major investment by the Coaching Inn Group, Hungerford’s Three Swans Hotel, Eatery and Coffee Shop is once again open for business and looks set to be Hungerford’s go-to place for accommodation, eating, drinking and just hanging out with a coffee.

Savour a slice of southern Sweden
Nordic noir, Medieval towns, architecture, serene rail travel, beaches and superb innovative food.

Tasting in Tuscany
Since the 11th Century the Borgo di Castelvecchio or ‘village of the old castle’ has been dominated by the structure that bears its name.

Lord Coe loves Hungerford
Olympic medal winner and Chairman of FIFA's Ethics Committee, Sebastian Coe was at the opening of Hungerford's Barrs Yard on Friday.

Why live in Hungerford?
Those of us who live here don't have to think twice, we love it and, you've had a job to persuade us to go elsewhere.

Hungerford Townsite, review and preview
TOWNSITE has become the go-to destination for everything local.

Townsite Goes to Marlborough
After a year in the planning, Townsite Marlborough has just gone live! The success of the Hungerford Townsite prompted Marlborough residents and businesses to ask us when we could do the same for their gorgeous and quintessentially English market town.

Walks in around Hungerford
Walking in the beautiful areas of outstanding natural beauty in and around Hungerford is a very special experience. Throughout the summer, we will be publishing details of some of the best and favourite walks in the town and its surrounding villages and countryside