This passage grave, or long barrow, at West Kennet in the south of England was built two hundred years before the Dutch hunebeds, in 3600 BC. That was 400 years before the first stones were erected at Stonehenge, which is not far from here.
During archaeological excavations in 1859 and 1955-56, 46 graves were discovered, the ages of the dead varying from babies to old people. The bones were jumbled together and some bones were missing. It is thought that these bones were probably removed when the graves were periodically enlarged and prepared for new burials. The bones were then replaced but not always in the same place. Research shows that all the bodies had died within a period of 20 to 30 years. The grave was also used in a later period by other people including those of the Beaker Culture, who filled the tomb completely with bones. In total, the barrow was in use for around 1000 years.
The long barrow forms one part of a landscape full of prehistoric monuments. From the site you can see Silbury Hill and the village of Avebury. In prehistory these monuments would have been linked in some way.
The West Kennet long barrow is one of the largest burial monuments in England.
Text Harrie Wolters
Translation Alun Harvey