Very easy to spot when visiting the Sanctuary. Barrows are often better seen from a distance against the skyline rather than close up. Although it is good to visit a few barrows up close and personal to better appreciate what you are looking at from a distance - or am I talking rubbish again?
What a lovely collection of round barrows, and a shame about the A4 spoiling the peace, and separating them. They are by The Ridgeway, which leads you up the hill to more tranquil surroundings, and the promise of a journey through history. The hairy old mounds, with a head of long grass, speak of the past, and I wonder about the scenes in the days when these monuments were being constructed. The Sanctuary is their neighbour, and leads the eye to nearby Avebury, and Silbury Hill, to which these sites are inexorably linked.
Sunday 27 July 2003
The barrows stand dignified and proud next to the busy A4 and the sunny Sunday afternoon bike-bustle of the Ridgeway. The three barrows featured in most pictures seem clearly to be the 'tip of the iceberg' here.
Julian remarks in TMA there were once maybe 12, and as you look on it's easy to believe and visualise. Given the relatively short distance to an 'outlying' barrow to the north and the interestingly-shaped 'tumuli' nearby, I'd not be surprised if it was more.
In "Abury: A Temple of the British Druids" 1743, Stuckley observes that Overton Hill is part of a ridge known as Hakpen (Hackpen Hill), a place-name he broke into 2 parts; Hack which he claimed had a Semitic root meaning "Snake" and pen deriving from the ancient British word for head. Snakehead Hill? Perhaps supporting the serpent like shape he observed in the avenues leading from Avebury. He went on to associate this "megalithic serpent" as Kneph (The Graeco-Egyption form of the creator god Khnum) the winged-serpent whos image is replicated the world over in ancient culture.