Summer Solstice: The 10 best stone circles in the UK

Summer Solstice: The 10 best stone circles in the UK

One of Britain’s most impressive prehistoric monuments sits on a low hill to the east of Keswick with a ring of mountains surrounding it. Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the earliest stone circles to be found in Britain and is important in terms of megalithic astronomy and geometry. Castlerigg Stone Circle stands on a superb natural plateau commanding a superb degree view over the surrounding fells. It is composed of 38 free standing stones, some up to 3 metres 10 feet high. It is one of Britain’s earliest stone circles dating back to the Neolithic period to years ago. Try counting the number of standing stones, can you come up with the same number twice? The original purpose of the site is unknown. It could have been used as a trading post. Three stone axes have been discovered inside the circle. In the Neolithic period axes were made from volcanic stone quarried in the fells.

9 of Scotland’s ancient (and not so ancient) stone circles and where to find them

The Hayloft Stable. Young People. This attractive guide now in its second enhanced edition is the first overview of its kind to be published for many years and benefits from previously unpublished research. The guide will take the reader on an exciting journey of discovery into these enigmatic monuments and their incomparable landscapes so beloved by the Romantics.

NOTE: It was later revealed that the stone circle in question was built in the s by a farm owner as a replica of similar circles that date back.

This rich archaeological landscape includes stone circles, standing stones, burial cairns and cists, as well as hut circles and an extensive field system, all dating to between and BC. The stone circles were preceded by elaborate timber circles on exactly the same sites. They were associated with religious activities dating back around 4, years.

Cremation and inhumation burials were placed in the circles, long after they were first built. Read detailed information on our online catalogue of Scotland’s heritage. Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time. Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work. See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.

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The strange origin of Scotland’s stone circles

The celebrated stone circle standing proud on Salisbury Plain with its trademark lintel-topped sarsens has been an enduring source of fascination for millennia. The first monument there, a circular ditch and bank, was dug in c BC, and a timber or stone circle erected inside it. Then, much later, in c BC, the first monoliths of local rock were brought in.

the dating of stone circles is fraught with problems. Unlike the posts of timber circles, stones cannot themselves be dated by radio- carbon. even the integrity of​.

Drombeg stone circle is dramatically situated on a rocky terrace with sweeping views over farmland to the Atlantic Ocean. Drombeg is perhaps the finest example of a distinctive series of stone circles found in Cork and Kerry. Stone circles were places of ritual and ceremony in the later Bronze Age period c. Also at the site is a fulacht fiadh or prehistoric cooking site. At Drombeg the seventeen stones are symmetrically arranged so that one of the stones the axial stone is set on its side and placed directly opposite a pair of tall stone the portal stones that form the entrance to the circle.

The stones reduce in height from the portals to the axial stone which has two shallow cup marks carved on its upper surface. In common with many stone circles in the region, the axis of the circle i. At the winter solstice 21 st December the sun sets at a point on the horizon aligned with this axis.

Sittaford Stone Circle

Until 22 possible and reported stone circles were known within the National Park. Since their construction from around the 3 rd millennium BC, these monuments have been subjected to destruction, disturbance and change by people and their livestock. This often makes understanding their original use very difficult. In , following a moorland fire, an amateur archaeologist noticed several large stones, half concealed in the peat m south-west of Sittaford Tor on northern Dartmoor. Investigating further, he discovered a circle of thirty large granites slabs all of which were lying flat on the ground.

This was a previously unknown stone circle which had been covered by growing peat following its abandonment meaning it had remained undisturbed, unlike other monuments of its type.

The stone circles of the British Isles are thought to have an indigenous origin and date from around – B.C. They arose in the context of the rise of.

The most ancient examples of these stone circles, many of which are thought to have been placed specifically for astronomical purposes by our Neolithic forebears, are truly fascinating. While newer sites, such as the circle at Glasgow’s Sighthill housing estate and the ‘fake’ ancient circle at Leochel-Cushnie in Aberdeenshire, also have their own story to tell. We take a look at 9 examples of stone circles and where to find them.

News you can trust since Sign in Edit Account Sign Out. Discoveries on Iona rewrite history of sacred isle 10 of Scotland’s best autumn walks. Heritage and Retro Heritage 9 of Scotland’s ancient and not so ancient stone circles and where to find them Scattered across Scotland there are scores of mysterious stone circles, many dating back millennia, while others, thanks to brazen Aberdeenshire farmers, are less than a quarter of a century old.

4,500-year-old stone circles in Orkney were ‘nightclubs’

Summer Solstice or midsummer is the longest day of the year when, weather permitting, we can enjoy up to 17 hours of sunlight. Friday 21 June is officially the start of summer for those of us living in the western hemisphere, but it also has another meaning for pagans and druids. The day signifies rebirth and is also an opportunity to acknowledge the power of the sun, which is at its highest point in the sky.

Stonehenge, the ancient stone circle in Wiltshire , is inundated by revellers every year who arrive in droves to watch the sun set on Midsummer Day.

When one thinks of stone circles, the likelihood is that Stonehenge and Avebury early structure, probably dating back to the later half of the Neolithic period.

It was during my first venture north to Orkney that I met Daphne Lorimer. At that time it was simply a short visit to see if fieldwalking would be a viable method of discovering Neolithic settlement in the islands. Of course, I was entranced by the islands and this first encounter marked what was going to be the beginning of a never ending fascination with Orkney.

But during the early years of investigation, when searching for the elusive settlements and villages of the Neolithic on a very small budget, it was Daphne’s kindness that I most remember – from baths to dinners and I love Daphne’s dinners! There is no doubt in my mind that the amazing vibrancy of Orcadian archaeology is due to her perseverance and enthusiasm.

The Orkney Archaeological Trust has flourished under her guidance and includes some of the nicest people I know. This is not accidental but due to her tireless work. So Daphne, as some small recompense for dragging you out countless times to examine skeletal remains often my mistaking sheep bones for human bones! I would like to keep you up to date with my latest project on stone circles – this is a small gesture but I think you know my feelings towards you and your work for Orcadian archaeology.

One of the most spectacular classes of archaeological monuments in Britain are the great stone circles of the late Neolithic. Unsurprisingly, more people visit stone circles than any other form of prehistoric sites. In many ways their popular appeal lies not only in the striking imagery of a ring of massive stones but also in the curiosity of the apparently intangible labour and practices that gave rise to the ‘completed’ monument encountered today.

In short, visitors may stand in awe at the scale of these monuments but they also want to know how and why these great circles were erected and what they were used for.

Your guide to Britain’s prehistoric stone circles

Thank you for signing up. Sorry, it looks like an error occurred. A stone circle believed to be thousands of years old was actually built by a farmer a little over 20 years ago. A stone circle in north-east Scotland, which was initially deemed by archaeologists to be thousands of years old, turned out to be a replica dating back two decades.

Like the other great stone circles of Britain, Waun Mawn is expected to date to the Neolithic around BC. Together with a Neolithic causewayed enclosure at.

The stone circles in the British Isles and Brittany are a megalithic tradition of monuments consisting of standing stones arranged in rings. Although stone circles have been erected throughout history by a variety of societies and for a variety of reasons, in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages , this particular tradition was limited to Britain, Ireland and the neighbouring area of continental Europe now known as Brittany.

The rings were not distributed equally across this area, but were concentrated in several highland regions: north-eastern and central Scotland, the Lake District , the south-west peninsula of England, and the north and south-west of Ireland. Their original purpose is not fully known, but archaeological investigation has shed some light on it. In a minority of cases, some were also used as cemeteries, with burials being made in and around the circle.

Antiquarian investigation into the circles began in the Early Modern period, intensifying after the publications of notable English antiquarian William Stukeley in the 18th century. At the time, scholars understood little of prehistoric Britain, with the megalithic circles typically being ascribed either to the druids of the Iron Age or to the Danish settlers of Early Medieval times. In the 20th century, with the development of archaeology , archaeologists could investigate the circles in more detail.

They dated them to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages.

10 incredible stone circles and megaliths around the world including top UK spots

Ancient “stone circles” in Scotland were constructed in line with the sun’s and moon’s movements some 5, years ago, new research reveals. Researchers used 2D and 3D technology to test the alignment patterns in the circles of Callanish on the Isle of Lewis and Stenness in Orkney. These stones date back to about B. The team also looked at much simpler monuments in Scotland dating to about B.

Details of the radiocarbon dating are given. INTRODUCTION. The Beaghmore stone circles are situated in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains about 12 miles.

A stone circle is a circular alignment of standing stones. The best known examples include those at the henge monument at Avebury , the Rollright Stones , and elements within the ring of standing stones at Stonehenge. Ancient stone circles appear throughout Europe, with many existing in the Pyrenees , on the Causse de Blandas in southern France in the Cevennes , in the Alps, Bulgaria, and Poland. Stone circles are usually grouped in terms of the shape and size of the stones, the span of their radius, and their population within the local area.

Although many theories have been advanced to explain their use, usually related to providing a setting for ceremony or ritual, there is no consensus among archaeologists as to their intended function. Their construction often involved considerable communal effort, including specialist tasks such as planning, quarrying, transportation, laying the foundation trenches, and final construction.

There is growing evidence that megalithic constructions began as early as BCE in northwestern France, [3] and that the custom and techniques spread via sea routes throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region from there. Around that time stone circles began to be built in the coastal and lowland areas towards the north of the United Kingdom.

The Langdale axe industry in the Lake District appears to have been an important early centre for circle building, perhaps because of its economic power. Recent research shows that two oldest stone circles in Britain Stenness and Callanish were constructed to align with solar and lunar positions. Some sites do not contain evidence of human dwelling. The variety of the stones excludes the possibility that they had astronomical observation purposes of any precision.

‘Ancient’ Stone Circle Actually Built in 1990s by Scottish Farmer

In a surprising twist this week, the circle turned out to actually be the work of the local farmer who owned the land in the s. We all have! The ten large stones—each about a meter 3. They certainly look like the work of the ancient Celts, somehow remarkably untouched after thousands of years. On the southwest side of the circle, one large stone lies on its side between two standing stones, a design common to stone circles in the area, known as recumbent stone circles.

Archaeologists know of around 90 other stone circles built this way, but most of them have been damaged or completely dismantled over the centuries.

They generally date to Neolithic and prehistoric periods. The oldest stone circle discovered is an incredible 12, years old, years older.

Most travelers, whether adventurers or arm-chair tourists, are very familiar with Stonehenge, an ancient site in Wiltshire, England, best known for its unique megalithic circle of stones. Stonehenge is a popular site for locals and tourists both. Its history remains largely unknown, leading to numerous theories about its construction and use. These range from tales relating to King Arthur to an argument between a devil and a friar, and many more.

It is also a pilgrimage site for modern day druids and others interested in New Age beliefs. The are very close about 20 miles or 32 km , as well, so if you visit Stonehenge, you can typically visit Avebury on the same day. Avebury is approximately halfway between the towns of Marlborough and Calne. The largest Avebury stone circle, the great outer circle, is older than the one at Stonehenge, dating back about years. It originally had 98 standing stones, making Avebury one of the largest stone circles in all of Europe.

Other features in addition to the henge include long barrows, a causewayed enclosure, a stone avenue, and 3 stone circles. It stands on a small strip of land between two lakes, Loch of Stenness and and Loch of Harray. The ring of stones originally had 60 large stones, but only 27 remain standing. The unique grooves at the top of each stone were carved by years of rainfall.

‘Ancient’ Bronze Age stone circle in Scotland was actually built in 1990s

Only five stones remain, including the recumbent, two massive stone blocks in situ one the west pillar and two prostrate and broken stones, one the east pillar. They are set in an oval bank, the area enclosed being lower than the natural ground surface. Excavation revealed two phases of this circle. The ground was first levelled by construction of a clay and rubble platform, up to 1.

Find out about Somerset’s very own Stone Circles dating back years, with three stone circles still standing which can be visited easily.

All over the world, every day, heritage sites, artefacts, skills and traditions are being damaged or lost through war, neglect, development, vandalism, theft or natural disasters. The Heritage Trust aims to focus on some of these issues, as well as highlighting many of the success stories in the fields of archaeology, conservation and historical research.

If you have concerns for our heritage, or just a story to tell about it, please let us know by leaving a comment or contacting us at — info theheritagetrust. Comments feed for this article. Reblogged this on Stonehenge News and Information. Like Like. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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