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38 39 When the antiquary William Stukeley wrote about the Avebury megaliths in the 18th century he interpreted the complex of huge standing stones as a gigantic serpent temple the now lost Beckhampton avenue being the tail, the henge and the stone circles its coiled body, and the Kennet Avenue and the Sanctuary on Overton Hill, the neck and head. Since these fanciful interpretations, writers and archaeologists have referred to the remaining Kennet Avenue as sinuous. It is not. Close inspection reveals that the two parallel lines of megaliths were built in discrete and straight sections over a long period of time. Furthermore, votive offerings and human burials were placed at the points where the avenue changes direction and alongside the outer edges, thus confirming a connection between the lines and death rituals. The avenue today is largely a restoration and consists of two lines of evocatively shaped megaliths that define a sacred pathway between the Sanctuary and the Avebury henge. Archaeological investigations have revealed that people walked along the outsides of the avenue and not between the rows of stones. Was that route perhaps preserved for the spirits of the dead Opposite Two of William Stukeleys engravings of Avebury from 1743. ThE kENNET avENuE Avebury, Wiltshire, England
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