|This picture was taken in the
early 1900s during Gray's excavations of the ditch around Avebury. The present ditch
bottom, due to infilling over the centuries, is indicated by the men on the highest
level. The bottom of the original ditch was as smooth as if the original excavators
had used a level. In places, the ditch was 10 meters below ground level.. From
atop the berm it would have been almost twice as deep.
The consensus of professional opinion is that the ditch was not built as a defense, as the dirt removed was placed on the outside of the ditch. I can see the logic of this opinion, but also think that it would be a very defensible location inside the ditch, even with the berm on the outside.
It is estimated the builders of Avebury removed over 90,000 cubic meters of chalk. Quite a chore when their tools were deer antlers and stone implements.
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