3.3 The Sanctuary

When the Sanctuary is reached one can turn and see a much wider view than that offered by the palisade enclosures (Fig. 6). Looking back at these, it is no longer easy to see into them; the view to this place of safety is now blocked, further enhancing the feeling of beginning a journey into another world. There is a good view of Silbury Hill but any access to it is blocked by the palisade enclosures which, when viewed from the Sanctuary, appear to span the whole of the flat area between Waden Hill and the spit of high ground to the north of East Kennet. At this point Beckhampton Plantation, West Kennet and East Kennet long barrows can all be seen, but access to them is blocked by the radial of the palisade enclosures and by unseen land between them and the Sanctuary. Even in the late Neolithic these were of an ancient monument form that harked back to the distant past and to the ancestors who built them, and as such the feeling is created that one is entering the lands of the dead, the Sanctuary acting as a threshold.

Figure 5 Figure 6

Figure 5: viewshed from The Sanctuary: grey represents the visible areas.
Figure 6: view from The Sanctuary.

Turning to the north-west view from the Sanctuary, it has been suggested that the two free-standing stones next to the start of the avenue point directly from the centre of the Sanctuary to the position of the Avebury henge (Pollard and Reynolds 2002, 106). This is true; however, they also point at Windmill Hill. Unlike Avebury, Windmill Hill can be seen from the Sanctuary in a tightly framed view (Figs. 5 and 6) and at the point that the avenue disappears from view, it appears to be swinging towards Windmill Hill, an important place of the ancestors; thus movement appears to be directly towards this centre of ancestral space.


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Last updated: Tues Oct 27 2009