This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Silbury Hill

Front cover for Silbury Hill

The largest prehistoric mound in Europe

Hardback by Jim Leary, David Field, Gill Campbell


Buy from bookshop

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.


  1. Preparations: the setting, previous research, recent research and surveys
  2. The evolution of Silbury Hill: the prehistoric phases
  3. The prehistoric finds
  4. The Silbury Chronology
  5. Understanding preservation and formation processes
  6. Silbury Hill: Understanding the environment
  7. Ways of understanding prehistoric Silbury Hill
  8. Neolithic Silbury in context
  9. In the Shadow of the Hill: Silbury Hill in the Roman and the Medieval period
  10. The conservation of Silbury Hill

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £100.00
  • Series: Archaeology
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Hardback
  • Physical Size: 276 x 219 mm
  • Pages: 384
  • Illustration: 210, Colour and b&w
  • Product Code: 51527
  • ISBN: 9781848020450


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Fax: 01793 414926
Textphone: 0800 015 0516

Was this page helpful?

Silbury Hill

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Aerial photographs showing the hole on the summit as it appeared on 30 May 2000
  • Looking down the shaft
  • Archaeologists processing material on the conveyor belt
  • The Hillside works
  • Silbury at night with a water-filled ditch
  • The vegetation mark in the ditch
  • A plan of all the known interventions into Silbury Hill

Related publications

Also of interest...