Silbury Hill

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Credit: Greg O’Beirne

Location: Wiltshire, England

Official Listing: UNESCO World Heritage Site, 1986

Significance: Silbury Hill is a 4700-year-old Neolithic mound, of immense archeological interest, and is also the home of rare plants. It lies just up the road from the huge stone megaliths at Avebury.

The Threat: Natural Disaster

Preservation Status: Silbury Hill was first granted legal protection in 1883. It is owned by Lord Avebury, but administered by English Heritage, and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Avebury. In 1776, a shaft was dug at Silbury Hill, and then capped, but when the cap collapsed in May 2000, the shaft gradually widened through water damage. The hole is now over 30 feet in diameter and may threaten the very existence of the hill. Many groups involved with both archaeology and Pagan and Druid religions held a protest on May 19, 2001, to bring attention to the problem. English Heritage, as of fall 2001, planed to use 3D imaging to repair and stabilize the monument. The first such surveys were to be completed by September of 2001.

For More Information: Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XII, Number 1, Fall 2001; Silbury Hill, Wiltshire

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