Digital Digging – Virtual Reconstructions of Avebury’s Sanctuary and the Durrington Walls using Google Earth

Aerial View of Woodhenge Reconstruction - Google Earth .kmz file by Digital DiggingDigital Digging – run by Henry Rothwell – is a resource for anyone with an interest in archaeology, history, cartography and … digital reconstructions! Digital Digging’s ‘Model Room’ is where they store their virtual reconstructions, created especially for you to explore yourself using Google Earth. It holds a selection of the timber and stone circles of Wessex and Somerset, including Durrington Walls South Circle, Woodhenge, Stanton Drew and the Sanctuary at Avebury. You can look at the image page of each reconstruction or download the associated .kmz file and download the model into Google Earth, where you can get inside it, and look at it from any angle you choose.

There is something fascinating about Digital Digging’s Google Earth-based reconstructions, besides the fact that you can ‘fly’ through them: they are overlayed on satellite images of how the historical sites look nowadays, so you can see wooden posts stick out of concrete roads, cars included. The benefit of having a 3Dmodel finished, is that you can easily create videos out of it, and this is exactly what Henry Rothwell has done:

The Sanctuary at Avebury

The Sanctuary Timber and Stone Circle at Avebury is a prehistoric site on Overton Hill located around 5 miles west of Marlborough in the English county of Wiltshire. It is part of a wider Neolithic landscape which includes the nearby sites of Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow and Avebury, to which The Sanctuary was linked by the 25m wide and 2.5km long Kennet Avenue. It also lies close to the route of the prehistoric Ridgeway and near several Bronze Age barrows.

The Durrington Walls Timber Circles

Durrington Walls is the site of a Neolithic village and later henge enclosure located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. It is 2 miles north east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury. At 500m in diameter it is the largest henge in Britain, and recent evidence suggests that it was a complementary monument to Stonehenge. What visibly remains of Durrington Walls today is the walls of the henge monument in fact the eroded remains of the inner slope of the bank and the outer slope of the internal ditch.

Digital Digging’s model room is full of timber circles at the moment. There is a reconstruction of Stanton Drew, another of the ‘cricket stumps’ in the Stonehenge car park, one of Woodhenge and the Durrington Walls and the Avebury Sanctuary shown above. If you wish to ‘explore’ these ancient monuments for yourself, can you do so by loading the .kmz files Digital Digging provides into Google Earth. Give it a try, it’s not as scary as it sounds (and instructions are provided)! 😉

And most of all, keep an eye on Digital Digging, as there are more virtual models upcoming: “Reconstructions are the next big project, and although the two sites so far included consist of posts (not massively taxing when all is said and done), I will shortly be trotting off into the Roman Period, and, all going well, putting up the odd Saxon hall or two a few hundred years later.” We’re looking forward to those! (Whilst in the mean while keeping ourselves content with Ancient Rome 3D, Virtual Karnak and of course our very own King Tut Virtual.)