Avebury Z Feature

View from the south west. The position of stone sockets are denoted by concrete bollards.

A probable single stone row measuring 24.85m long, including at least eight large-sized orthostats of which six remain standing and two are known only from socket holes situated in the South Circle at Avebury. The row is orientated north to south, and the presence of other stones in the immediate vicinity means that alternative explanations are possible, but interpretation as a stone row is consistent with the evidence. A visual link with nearby Silbury Hill has been observed.


England Wiltshire England (Other) SU 10271 69907
Lat 51.428081    Long -1.8536592

Map showing the location of Avebury Z Feature stone row.

Simplified plan of the Z feature stone row within the South Circle. (Source: Google Earth and Avebury Web).

Black = row, blue cross = estimated position of stone, red and black crosses = excavated socket hole

Avebury showing position of the Z Feature stone row.


Type: Single Length: 24.85m
No. of stones: 8 Size of stones: Only large
Orientation: 169° Altitude: 160m
Upper end: – Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: No
Context:  Henge, stone circles, stone rows and standing stones

Notes: This line of stones has the appearance of a stone alignment. The only other example found inside a stone circle is at Torhouseskie.

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status: National Trust
Scheduled Ancient Monument: Yes


Category: Probable. This line of stones look like a stone row, but other excavated features in the vicinity may indicate that this structure originally formed part of another feature. Despite this a stone row interpretation currently seems most probable, particulary given the visual links to Silbury Hill.


This stone row is of Type S8. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.


 View from west. Copyright: Alan Simkins.

Compared to the massif sarsens forming the surrounding circle the stones in the row are comparatively small. View from south east.

View from south showing the context of the row.

A line of stones. The concrete bollards denote the position of stone sockets identified during excavations. View from south.

View from north west with the henge bank beyond. From this angle it is possible to see the marked shift in alignment.

View from west.

The stones vary in height.

Looking Towards Silbury Hill

The following eight photographs are taken in sequence from the north to south from each stone within the row looking towards Silbury Hill. As one walks south along the row, the top of Silbury Hill appears to glide eastward along the top of Waden Hill disappearing behind and re-appearing from behind a large sarsen forming part of the South Circle. This visual treat is reminiscent of other rows where landmarks or sea views appear or disappear along their lengths. The frequency of this phenomenon strongly implies that the row builders deliberately incorporated them into their designs and this in turn suggests that these visual treats are likely to have formed part of the rituals. The existence of demonstrable visual links to other special places is a persistent characteristic of the Great British stone rows.

View from northernmost stone. Silbury Hill is visible beyond the lower slope of Waden Hill. The henge bank would have originally been higher at this point and may have originally formed the lower visual block. A stone forming part of the Great Circle seems to point at Silbury Hill.

View from next stone. Silbury Hill remains visible and from this point appears to have moved to the left of the Great Circle stone and towards the large South Circle stone.

View from third stone. Silbury Hill is now framed by the near South Circle stone and the Great Circle stone.

View from fourth stone. Half of Silbury Hill has disappeared behind the large South Circle stone.

View from fifth stone. Silbury Hill has vanished from sight.

View from sixth stone. Silbury Hill remains hidden from view.

View from seventh stone. Silbury Hill appears from behind the large orthostat.

View from southern stone. Silbury Hill is now perfectly aligned with an orthostat in the Great Circle and the site of another stone marked by a concrete bollard.

The southernmost stone of the row is visible in the foreground. From this angle it is possible to appreciate the way in which the end of the row is provided with a sign-posted ,focused view of Silbury Hill. That this alignment exists today is without question, whether it existed in the past is less certain, but if it did, there is a strong likelihood that it was deliberately contrived.  In common with most stone rows, the Z feature at Avebury appears to have been constructed to provide access to particular visual treats.  

Access Information

Car parking is provided at a price at SU 09959 69653, but access to the stone circles, henge and stone row is free. From the car park head into the village and make your way to the centre of the henge.

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Modern Antiquarian     PastScape      Avebury Web     Avebury Web


VISITED:- 7th August 2016

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 12th November 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 30th January 2018

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