Silbury Hill is a conical, flat-topped Neolithic mound located a short distance from Beckhampton, Wilts (map reference SU100685). It is the largest man-made prehistoric mound in Europe and is 130ft (40m) high and 550ft (167m) in diameter, covering 5 acres (2.2 hectares).
Located in a region rich with Neolithic monuments, it is believed to be 4750 years old. Its purpose is unknown.
It is composed principally of chalk excavated locally. Some 8.75 million cubic feet (248,000 cubic metres) of material went into its construction. It has been calculated that it took 18 million man-hours to construct; the equivalent of 500 men working for 15 years. This suggests social complexity had evolved beyond the tribal level as only a powerful ruling elite could have mustered the resources for such a project.
© Christopher Seddon 2009