Beckhampton  Avenue  and  Cove

In 1724 William Stukeley was the first commentator to describe the remains of the Beckhampton Avenue and Cove.
 For hundreds of years the local farming community -  influenced by the teachings of an uncomprehending Christian Church  -  had been destroying this great monument.    The Avenue which leads westwards from Avebury - or rather perhaps, eastwards into Avebury - was built by an ancient British tribe in the third millennnium BCE as part of the enormous Avebury megalithic complex.  When completed, there were approximately a hundred megaliths along its course if the number bears comparison with that of the south-running Kennet Avenue (an overall plan of these avenues in the Avebury landscape is given on the page for Avebury's neighbouring sites).
   His sketch of the megaliths (Stones A B C and D) of the 4-stone Cove at Beckhampton reveal an orientation aligned on the midwinter sunrise.  That is to say at the winter solstice the rising sun casts the shadow of Stone C upon the central Stone B.  Today only Stone A survives, but the position of the stone-hole (in the subsurface chalk bedrock) of  the missing Stone C has been detected by geophysical search methods.
    Stukeley's drawing shows another standing stone labelled Stone E which is a stone of the lost Avenue.  This megalith, together with A, survive to this day as standing stones.  They are called the Longstones.  Stukeley's drawing includes additional Avenue stones which he saw as fallen stones (marked  F  F  F F  etc) to the east and the west of the Cove.
    Besides this, Stukeley narrates the recent history of Avenue megaliths which followed the course of the High Street in Avebury (W. Stukeley, Abury, published 1740). A detailed summary has been given by Terence Meaden as Chapter VVV of his book The Secrets of the Avebury Stones (published in July 1999) in which Dr Meaden predicted that one day the course of the missing avenue would be rediscovered.  Amazingly, by the start of September 1999,  Stukeley's statements about the presence and the course of the Avenue as it neared Beckhampton Cove were proved correct when an excellent team of archaeologists from university departments in Southampton, Leicester, Newport and Newcastle began unearthing megaliths that had been buried hundreds of years earlier.
   Photographs of two of the stones are supplied below, while additional photographs and discussion are given on our Avebury news pages.

Beckhampton Avenue:  The Newly-found  Stone (F 25)

................  This stone is shown on its side as found in the burial pit, and again in a vertical position, to indicate how it would look if raised on its base.

Newly-found Stone  F 22