The greatest prehistoric sites in the UK

Avebury

Britain’s got a very long history, and the huge luck of having more than the average number of prehistoric sites to show for it. While in other countries such sites have been neglected or destroyed, in Britain they are a source of national pride (and a magnet for tourists). If you like all manners of historical/mystical/mysterious places that can make you reflect a bit, then you should visit some of these interesting sites. Stonehenge is known by all, but there are more prehistoric sites to visit in Britain. Here’s a list of the greatest prehistoric sites in the UK.

Avebury, Wiltshire

What’s fascinating about the stone circle of Avebury is that is completely encircles the tiny village of Avebury in Wiltshire. This neolithic henge has three distinct stone circles, in fact, and one of them is the largest stone circle in the entire Europe. Although the site draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, it lacks any kind of gaudy commercialism (actually, there are only two shops in the entire village).

Merry Maidens Lamorna, Cornwall

photo by Phil Windley

The Merry Maidens is a circle of nineteen stones near Lamorna, a small fishing village in the western parts of Cornwall. What makes this circle interesting is the fact that it is perfectly circular, not a negligible feat considering that it is so old. Legends say that the stones in the circle were nineteen maidens who dared to dance on a Sunday, and consequently were turned to stone.

Stanton Drew, Somerset

Stanton Drew is the most famous prehistoric site in Somerset, located close to the picturesque village of the same name. The Great Circle has a diameter of 113 meters, and it is the second largest stone circle in Britain. Although archaeologists say that the circle was used in funerary rituals, local stories claim that the monument is the remained of a wedding party turned to stone by the devil.

Orkney, Scotland

photo by Dr. John F. Burka

The islands of Orkney have several very interesting prehistoric sites, and since they are very close to each other, they can be visited as one single attraction. The most fascinating of these places are Akara Brae, the most well preserved prehistoric village in Europe,Maes Howe, a large chambered tomb, and two ceremonial stone circles, the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar.

Uffington White Horse, Oxfordshire

The stylized shape of a graceful white horse leaping on Uffington hill has been dated to more than 3000 years old, and it’s still puzzling how such a beautiful sight could be created. If you stand directly across the Vale of the White Horse, you can see this 110 meter long piece of prehistoric art in its full splendor. While different from other sites, this is definitely one of the greatest prehistoric sites in the UK.

 

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