North of Duddo
As mentioned in a previous post about the Duddo Standing Stones in north Northumberland, prehistoric standing stones are human-made upright stones that have been placed into the ground vertically, often in circular formations. They date from various periods, mostly between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, and are found across the UK and beyond. Here are a few photos of stone circles that I’ve visited in Scotland over recent years that helps to highlight the similarities in the formations across a wider geographical area.
Callanish Standing Stones
When viewed as a whole, the monument in its dramatic landscape speaks of a powerful sense of human purpose, wonder and sacred heritage.www.calanais.org
The Callanish Standing Stones [58°11’50.418″ N 6°44’43.5″ W] on the Isle of Lewis were erected around 2900 BCE. They are arranged in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. A so-called ‘chambered cairn’ was added around 2400 BCE.
Moss Farm Road Stone Circle
Moss Farm Road Stone Circle [55°32’33.006″ N 5°19’45.504″ W] is situated on the Isle of Arran. It is a 20m diameter ring of angular, upright, red sandstone boulders erected around a central burial cairn.
Machrie Moor Standing Stones
Machrie Moor Standing Stones [55°32’25.548″ N 5°18’45.81″ W] is a group of six stone circles on Machrie Moor on the Isle of Arran. They were all built between 3500-1500 BCE on top of earlier timber circles. This is a photo of Machrie Moor Circle 2:
The circle has a diameter of around 14m. Only three of the original seven or eight stones survive today. They are constructed from red sandstone and so show similar weathering patterns to those seen on the Duddo Standing Stones in Northumberland.
Tomnaverie Stone Circle
The Tomnaverie Stone Circle [57°7’9.54″ N 2°50’58.674″ W] is one of 74 known so-called ‘recumbent stone circles’ found in North-East Scotland. This one is situated near Tarland within the Cairngorms National Park. It is another Early Bronze Age monument (c. 2300 BCE).
What’s the point?
Mmm…good question! There isn’t a definitive answer as to why our ancestors built the stone circles. As mentioned previously, they are thought to be associated with astronomy, rituals and burial sites. Whatever their significance, standing stones are mysterious and fascinating monuments of ancient cultures.