English Architects - Prehistoric Architecture

Prehistoric Architecture

The earliest known examples of architecture in England are the megalithic tombs of the Neolithic, such as those at Wayland's Smithy and the West Kennet Long Barrow. These cromlechi are common over much of Atlantic Europe: present day Spain; Brittany; Great Britain; and Ireland. Radiocarbon dating has shown them to be, as historian John Davies says, "the first substantial, permanent constructions of man and that the earliest of them are nearly 1,500 years older than the first of the pyramids of Egypt." The Neolithic henges of Avebury and Stonehenge are two of the largest and most famous megalithic monuments in the world. The structure is an annual calendar, but the reason for the massive size is unknown with any certainty, suggestions include agriculture, ceremonial use and interpreting the cosmos. With other nearby sites, including Silbury Hill, Beckhampton Avenue, and West Kennet Avenue, they form a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites.

Numerous examples of Bronze Age and Iron Age architecture can be seen in England. Megalithic burial monuments, either individual barrows (also known, and marked on modern British Ordnance Survey maps, as Tumuli,) or occasionally cists covered by cairns, are one form. The other is the defensive earthworks known as hill forts, such as Maiden Castle and Cadbury Castle. Archaeological evidence suggests that British Iron Age domestic architecture had a tendency towards circular dwellings, known as roundhouses. Their wooden structures have not survived above ground.

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