4,500-year-old stone circle recorded by archaeologists

A recumbent stone circle in Aberdeenshire that has been known to locals since it was erected thousands of years ago has been identified and recorded by archaeologists for the first time. This type of circle, characterized by a large horizontal stone placed (hence “recumbent”) between two upright stones, is unique to northeast Scotland. They were built around 3,500-4,500 years ago and are well-known features of the landscape, which is why it’s so unusual to find one that has never been documented by archaeologists. If it had been in ruins, obscured by the landscape and hard to see on the surface it would explain how professionals didn’t know about it, but this one is complete, intact and perched on a well-maintained hill.

It stands on farmland in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie and it was a member of one of the families that have been farming in the area for generations, Fiona Bain, who alerted the Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeology Service to the existence of the stone circle.

Neil Ackerman, Historic Environment Record Assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, visited the site along with Adam Welfare, Alison McCaig and Katrina Gilmour from Historic Environment Scotland (Survey and Recording).

While fitting the Recumbent Stone Circle model, this is a slightly unusual example, they say.

Describing the monument, Mr Welfare said: “In numbering ten stones it fits the average, but its diameter is about three metres smaller than any known hitherto and it is unusual in that all the stones are proportionately small.

“It is orientated SSW and enjoys a fine outlook in that direction, while the rich lichen cover on the stones is indicative of the ring’s antiquity.”

Mr Ackerman added: “This amazing new site adds to our knowledge of these unique monuments and of the prehistoric archaeology of the area. It is rare for these sites to go unidentified for so long, especially in such a good condition.”

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7 Comments »

Comment by DBMG
2018-12-19 05:01:03

….how do you orient a circle?

 
Comment by Albertus Minimus
2018-12-19 08:46:11

Just follow the directions.

 
Comment by Cordate
2018-12-19 09:25:58

Possibly everyone who knew about it assumed ‘the authorities’ did also

 
Comment by dearieme
2018-12-19 09:42:31

So they’re saying that it’s Bronze Age.

Personally, I’d look out the largest scale local OS map available and see if it’s marked on. I’d think there’s a fair chance that it would be. In which case the Archaeology Service should be kicking themselves.

 
Comment by Norman
2018-12-19 15:14:28

DBMG: The position of the recumbent stone in the ring of upright stones determines the orientation.

 
Comment by Sam L.
2018-12-23 18:57:46

It has to face East, of course!

 
Comment by Jao
2019-01-24 05:32:20

Intriguingly… New NEWS says- very modern!?
The story continues…
http://www.minareport.com/2019/01/22/fake-science-4500-year-old-stone-circle-actually-built-in-1990s/

I have no comment on the unfortunate situation above…
Sometimes there are multiple wrinkles to unwind getting to the real snafu bottom line…
I casually mention THAT!
Have been involved as avocational archaeology reviewer IA-IL, USA for 20 years… We have good, State Level Archeology workers in my region.
As in all things, ‘interpretation’ can be a tricky thing, ESPECIALLY when the local source is certain of their reporting… (I’m a local source-to be clear. LoL)
In my situ, I can’t tell you how many ‘things’ and places I have looked into that are just geofacts or natural topography… The majority of those visits resulting in ‘nothing special’, are still GREAT interactions with interested people!
There is the very occasional hiccup, where person refuses to listen to reasonable logic, sound data, etc, and continues to insist that said (thing/place), is of mysterious/ancient vintage…
Small Sigh!
My least favorite anecdote? An elderly couple, who have been insisting that a local found (and indisputable!)piece of ‘bog iron’, IS a meteorite. MY pain is that I have crossed paths now 5 times over fifteen years, as they continue to seek a meteorite confirmation, and regional contacts they met-come back to ME about testing the object!
(I am geologist as regular job.)Annoying is the fact that they keep wasting a LOT of other peoples’ time! OH well!
~JO:)

 
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