Begun in about 3000 BC, the Sanctuary was originally a complex circular arrangement of timber posts, which were later replaced by stones. These components are now indicated by concrete slabs.
Its function remains a mystery: possibly it enshrined the dwelling place of some revered person, and certainly huge numbers of human bones were found here, accompanied by food remains suggesting elaborate death rites and ceremonies. Later,West Kennet Avenue was constructed to connect it with newly-built Avebury, reinforcing the status of this enigmatic but clearly very important site.
The Sanctuary is in DCMS ownership and in English Heritage guardianship. It is managed by The National Trust on behalf of English Heritage, and the two organisations share the cost of managing and maintaining the property.