Silbury Hill

BookSilbury Hill

Silbury Hill

The largest prehistoric mound in Europe

English Heritage


January 20th, 2014





Silbury Hill, the largest prehistoric mound in Europe, has long been an enigma. Set within the chalk downlands of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, it is traditionally thought to have been the burial place of King Sil. First investigated in 1776, then again in 1849, successive archaeological interventions culminated in Professor Richard Atkinson’s televised campaign in the late 1960s.

Following the dramatic collapse of the 1776 excavation shaft at the summit of the Hill in 2000, detailed surveys revealed that voids associated with the earlier excavations existed deep within the mound. Mindful of potential damage to undisturbed archaeological features within Silbury Hill, in 2007 the decision was taken to re-enter the Hill using Professor Atkinson’s tunnel and directly backfill all known and predicated voids. These remedial works were accompanied by full archaeological recording.

This report discusses the resulting stratigraphical and palaeoenvironmental evidence as well as new radiocarbon dates and offers a re-interpretation of the construction of the Hill, setting it in its late Neolithic context. It also details the later history of the site and conservation measures undertaken.

This appropriately detailed, well illustrated and luxuriously produced report chronicles the response... The book is a precious record, with stimulating discussions....
Mike Pitts, British Archaeology

Elegant and beautifully designed, Silbury Hill is brimming with photographs and drawings, maps and diagrams. It is a bibiophile's delight. Particularly lovely is a set of tunnel sections, reproduced on folded sheets that are each five times the width of a standard page. ... If you need to know all that is known about Silbury Hill, you need this book.
Steve Marshall, Fortean Times

... a beautiful volume, clearly written and attractively illustrated.
Vicki Cummings, Antiquity

School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire

One of the great strengths of the book is its superb presentation of empirical detail which is likely to be an indispensable resource for future researchers. ... The volume is beautifully illustrated throughout with well-chosen photographs, illustrations and diagrams, supplemented by large, well-presented site plans which fold out from the back of the book. The lavish production allows the authors to offer a gradual, layered build-up of evidence and interpretation in a style both scholarly and accessible allowing both professional and amateur readily to understand the history of that wonderful landscape from the time of its construction to the present day.
David Jacques, Landscape History

University of Buckingham

Author Information

Jim Leary is an archaeologist with English Heritage. Author, Downton. Gill Campbell is head of Environmental Studies at English Heritage.