People walking by a large rock A partnership between the present and the past

Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire, U.K., is the largest known Neolithic stone circle in the world, and part of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site (WHS). The WHS video below introduces Avebury, and explains how it forms part of an amazing ritual landscape.

Virtual Avebury is an AHRC/EPSRC funded project under the 2017 Immersive Partnerships call. It is a partnership between BU, National Trust, virtual reality developers Daden Ltd and soundscape specialists Satsymph. We are creating a 3D, fully immersive simulation of Avebury Stone Circle, as it may have appeared circa 2,300 BCE. The project has been funded for 9 months during 2018, running from mid-February to mid-November, and has three main phases:

  • the first phase, from mid-February to the end of May, is to create the visual simulation in Unity 3D and embed a layered soundscape;
  • the second phase, from the beginning of June to the middle of September, will be to evaluate the simulation through public engagement. Visitors to Avebury itself, participants in the BU Festival of Learning, and online visitors from anywhere with an internet connection, can join in to help us understand how people interact with the virtual environment and with other visitors they will meet there in real time, and how experiencing Virtual Avebury in 2,300 BCE affects their reactions to physical Avebury in the present day;
  • the third phase will be from the end of September to mid-November when we’ll be analysing the data and writing reports and papers.

Come and join in!

Evaluating Virtual Avebury from the user perspective lies at the heart of this project. We would like to encourage as many people as possible to try it out with us, using fully immersive headsets, earphones and haptic devices, as well as texture, smell and air movement effects. We will ask you to complete a questionnaire after you have experienced Virtual Avebury if you are aged 16 or over, but no one is under any obligation to do so and anyone is welcome to come along and try it. If you are under 16 years of age, you will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult whilst you are using Virtual Avebury at our physical locations.

At Avebury

We are planning on being at Avebury on a range of dates in June, July, August and September which are shown below. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners, National Trust, for being such accommodating and enthusiastic hosts, as they have created a space for us in The Barn Museum. We will be there from 11 am to 4 pm each day, although the dates below may be subject to some alterations due to unforeseen circumstances. So if you are planning on visiting us at Avebury, please check back here a day or two beforehand as we will keep this list up to date; even the best-laid plans can go awry!

JUNE: 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29

JULY: 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 26, 27, 28, 29

AUGUST: 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27

SEPTEMBER: 16, 19, 20, 21, 22

BU Festival of Learning 2018

We will be in Room 201 in the Fusion Building on Saturday 16th June from 11 am to 4 pm as part of the BU Festival of Learning, Festival for the Family Day. We’ll have 3 immersive rigs on offer, so you can explore Virtual Avebury with family and friends; walking through the landscape, listening to the sounds of the Neolithic, and sharing the experience with others in the virtual environment. We’ll also have augmented reality and 360-degree video examples too.


If you can’t make it to our physical venues, you’ll be able to experience Virtual Avebury on your own devices at any time in June, July and August. Instructions for how to do this will be in our News section (top right of this page) shortly.

Keep up with our news

This is a dynamic project that is developing all the time and we’ll regularly post news items about the project in the News section of this website.

If you have any specific queries about the project, or would like to discuss it further, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected].

Arts and Humanities Research Council logo

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to:

EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £800 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.

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