A CHRONOLOGY OF MAPS & PLANS
Here you will find a list of maps and plans, from the earliest times of Avebury hopefully wending forward to the present. Most of them have been used in the archaeological mapping project. Click on an image for its high-resolution counterpart to be opened up in a new page.
We aim to make the chronology as comprehensive as possible, and we have a fair few more maps to add. Slowly it is growing and if we have missed anything or you would like to add something to it then please, do let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plan Of Avebury.
This plan of the stones of Avebury by an unknown author was presented to the Royal Society on the eighth of July 1663 by a Doctor Charleton, to which, a fellow member later commented , 'seems indeed by his relation a very strange piece of antiquity.'
John Aubrey and Colonel Long were requested, at the meeting, to make further enquiry into the plan and notes which accompanied it.
This image copyright © The Royal Society. Published with the permission of The Royal Society.
1663 John Aubrey.
Stone Circles at Avebury
This is John Aubrey's first plan of the site and must have been completed some point, after Doctor Charleton's plan was presented to the Royal Society during the July Of 1663.
This pencil drawing contains the field boundaries as well as the houses along the town cross-street. However, It was his next plan, using better surveying techniques, which represents the stones, and their locations, more accurately.
This image copyright © The Royal Society, published with permission.
1663 John Aubrey.
John Aubrey's next plan of Avebury was also in 1663 as part of his seminal work ' Monumenta Britannica'. Called England's first archaeologist, he was Avebury's principal chronicler.
By chance, he had discovered Avebury on a bitter and cold February morn during 'The Great Frost and Snow' of the midwinter of 1649. That stark wintertide beauty of the place had captivated him, and he later reflected on how he was, 'Wonderfully surprised at the sight of those vast stones of which I had never heard before.' His plan of the Henge was a surprisingly precise representation of the site as it then was using the best techniques available of the time. Never published until two centuries after he died, his unfinished manuscripts were bound up into four volumes and donated to the Ashmolean Museum, later relocated to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, where they still reside today.
1723 William Stukeley.
Abury, a temple of the British Druids,
This is the frontispiece to William Stukeley's book, 'Abury, A Temple of the British Druids', published in 1743. In many ways, the same chance and glamour that had caught and captivated John Aubrey to Avebury had also befallen Stukeley. Some friends of his had inherited a copy of Aubrey's, 'Monumenta Britannica' and it may well have been the initial inspiration which led him to also fall under the perpetual charm of that ancient landscape. This detailed ground plan details the remain of the two stone avenues that lead too and from the southern and western entrances of Avebury and details much of the, then, disappearing configuration.
Stukeley made copious and meticulous drawings of many of the ancient features and sites surrounding both Avebury and Stonehenge. Here appears one of his serpentine scenographic views of Avebury extending the Kennet and Beckhampton avenues to their destinations of the Sanctuary and the western burial mounds beyond the stones named Adam and Eve.
Abury, a Temple of the British Druids, Stukeley, William. Printed for W. Innys and R. Manby 1740 & 1743, London (1740) Hardcover Published: 1743, London. Engraving. Map Creator: William Stukeley, Elisha Kirkall. Held by British Library SM:191.e.10.(2.)
Map Of North Wilts.
This beautiful 2' : 1-mile large scale maps of Northern Wiltshire was drawn in the early part of the eighteenth century. Belonging to the British Museum, it makes extensive use of hachures emphasising the relief and landscape features east of the Marlborough Downs. This carefully prepared and meticulous map details the archaeological features of the landscape, as were known then. Avebury can be seen in the central-southern area of the plan - the, 'Remains Of a Druidical Temple.'
Published: 1815. Pen and Ink on paper. Map Creator: Unknown. Held by British Library Shelfmark: OSD 168.
Plan of Abiri and parts adjacent.
This plan by an unknown artist around 1825 takes shade from Stukeley's earlier scenographic view of Avebury, with the addition of several more sites or points of interest and the curious addition of the Hebrew translation of the name of Abiri.
Published: circa. 1825 . Charcoal, Pencil and Ink on paper. Map Creator: Unknown.
Abury. Extended Plan.
".....The plan exhibits this bank, e, with the ditch f: immediately within the ditch was a circle of stones, dotted on the plan. This circle is stated to have been composed of a hundred stones, many from fifteen to seventeen feet in height, but some much smaller, and others considerably higher, of vast breadth, in some cases equal to the height. The distance between each stone was about twenty-seven feet. The circle of stones was about thirteen hundred feet in diameter. The inner slope of the bank measured eighty feet. Its circumference at the top is stated by Sir Richard Hoare to be four thousand four hundred and forty-two feet. The area thus enclosed exceeds twenty-eight acres. Half-way up the bank was a sort of terrace walk of great breadth.
“Dimensions such as these at once impress us with notions of vastness and magnificence. But they approach to sublimity when we imagine a mighty population standing on this immense circular terrace and looking with awe and reverence upon the religious and judicial rites that were performed within the area. The Roman amphitheatres are petty things compared with the enormous circle of Abury.
Looking over the hundred columns, the spectators would see, within, two other circular temples, marked c and d [on the plan]: of the more northerly of these double circles some stones of immense size are still standing. The great central stone of c, more than twenty feet high, was standing in 1713. In 1720 enough remained decidedly to show their original formation. The general view is a restoration formed upon the plan. Upon that plan, there are two openings through the bank and ditch, a and b. These are connected with a peculiarity of Abury, such as is found in no other monument of those called Celtic, although near Penrith a long avenue of granite stones formerly existed. At these entrances two lines of upright stones branched off, each extending for more than a mile. These avenues are exhibited in the plan."
Old England: A pictorial history of Old English architecture, monuments and antiquities from the Roman Period to the 1850's. , Knight, Charles. Printed by Charles Knight and Co. 1845, London
1889 Ordnance Survey.
Ordnance Survey Wiltshire XXVIII 1842-1952
Includes: Avebury; Fyfield; West Overton; Winterbourne Monkton.
Surveyed: 1885 to 1887
This image copyright © National Library Of Scotland. Published under license via Creative Commons , Attribution NonCommercial Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) with the permission of the National Library Of Scotland.
1895 RMJ UNDERHILL
Magic Lantern Slides and Surveys
These elegant pictures are digitised versions of meticulous hand-painted glass slides that have been formally used in a 'Magic Lantern'. The Lanterna Magica was a once a popular form of projecting painted, printed or photographed images for public viewing right up to the 1950s.
These, hand-painted reproductions of Stukeley's, 'Vision of Avebury - restored' and his 'Ground Plot Of Avebury' have been finely coloured and both the 'Vision of Avebury' and the, 'Avebury & district Avenues "restored"' detail the stones still remaining during Mr. Underhill's visits to the the sites.
The images derive from a set of forty-seven painted and photographed slides belonging to the series "Megalithic Monuments of Great Britain". The series has been dated between 1895 and 1905 and was created by a certain Henry Michael John Underhill. Mr Underhill was a Cambridge greengrocer and Antiquarian and would have used the slides to accompany his lectures to the public and national societies.
These image copyright © University of Oxford. Prof Helena Hamerow, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 36 Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2PG.
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