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3DVisA Index of 3D Projects: Archaeology

Negotiating Avebury Project

This project is part of Virtual Reality in Archaeology carried out at the University of Southampton. It 'aims to develop novel computing solutions to the modelling, representation and interpretation of space in the archaeological past.'

Avebury is a neolithic site in Wiltshire, England. The site consist of megalithic stones arranged in circles from which sinuous avenues, lined with paired stones, reach out into a landscape. The outer circle is 400 metre in diameter and there are approximately 100 stones in total in various states of preservation. The site is complemented by older mounds and other monuments scattered around Avebury: the timber and stone circles of the Sanctuary and palisade enclosures at West Kennet, the Windmill Hill causeway enclosure, and the most imposing of the mounds, the Silbury Hill.

Avebury is quite unique for its large scale, complexity and design. In 1986 it was inscribed, alongside Stonehenge and other associated sites, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 'However, despite the quality of its surviving remains (and over 300 years of often heated debate, research and speculation) far more questions about the site remain unanswered than answered. For example we still lack a satisfactory understanding of the chronology and precise order in which the various components were constructed. The same is true of the surrounding landscape. As a result, the apparent familiarity of the Neolithic of Avebury and its surrounding landscape is largely illusory. Rather than a landscape that is understood, it is a landscape that requires investigation, interpretation and understanding. The Negotiating Avebury project is one of many exciting archaeological investigations centred upon Avebury that seeks to do precisely this.'

Project dates: Excavations 1998-2003

Resource status: A demonstration of the VRML model of Stone 4 has been made available (but could not be accessed at the time of compiling this record) at the Museum of Antiquities website.

Contributors: Mark Gillings, University of Leicester; Josh Pollard (formerly at the University of Wales), David Wheatley and Rick Peterson, Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK.

Sources and further details:

Gillings, M. and Pollard, J. (2004), Avebury, London: Duckworths; Museum of Antiquities website.

Earl, G. and Wheatley, D. (2002), 'Virtual reconstruction and the interpretative process: a case-study from Avebury', Contemporary Themes in Archaeological Computing, Wheatley, D., Earl, G. and Poppy, S. (eds). Oxford, UK: Oxbow Books, pp. 5-15. Full text available online (Word doc).

Record compiled by ABK. Last updated: 11 September 2006.

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