Stone Circles of North-East Scotland
North-east Scotland, and in particular Aberdeenshire, can boast a higher concentration of Stone Circles and other megalithic remains than almost any other region of the British Isles.
In Aberdeenshire alone there are around 100 known sites, the majority still extant, where stone circles have been recorded. The Easter Aquorthies Stone Circle near Inverurie is a particularly fine example of a recumbent stone circle.
Easter Aquorthies Recumbent Stone Circle
Stone Circles on Google Maps and BING Maps
Click one of the following links to open a scaleable Google Map or BING Map showing the locations of many of the Stone Circles (including remnant circles and destroyed circles) to be found in Aberdeenshire and northeast Scotland.
Both Google Maps and Bing Maps offer direct links to RCAHMS (Carnmore) Site Records for almost every site. Just click on the marker icon to pop up an information box containing a photograph of the site and a link to RCAHMS.
At the right of each map is a button panel: clicking any button will display a zoomed close-up map showing the location of the named Stone Circle and also, if unobscured, the Circle itself. Google Maps are configured to display these zoomed sections as aerial photographs while the BING Maps are configured to display them as Ordnance Survey Maps. You can, of course, change these map types using the native map menu options.
The following coloured markers appear on these maps:
The Recumbent Stone Circle
The recumbent stone circle is a type particularly associated with NE Scotland and rarely found elsewhere (other than south west Ireland). The rocks from which stone circles are constructed normally stand upright, but in a Recumbent Circle, one stone—usually the most massive—lies on its side (i.e. recumbent) flanked by two tall upright pillars. This shows clearly towards the right-hand side of the photograph above.
The recumbent stone always occupies a position on the circle's arc between the SSE and SW points. The upright stones are normally graded in height, with the smallest on the northern arc and the tallest flanking the recumbent stone.
Destruction through Agriculture
Many of the recumbent stone circles standing today are mere remnants of their former selves; often only the recumbent and flanking pillars remain, the other circle stones having long since disappeared. Excellent examples of largely complete recumbent circles which have withstood the test of time are Sunhoney and Tyrebagger and Easter Aquorthies.
As agriculture spread across northeast Scotland in the 17th and 18th centuries, farmers set about clearing their land of rocks and stones. Many of the smaller ones were used in the construction of dykes but the larger ones (i.e. those found in stone circles) were viewed as unwanted obstacles and useful construction material. Many circle stones were removed for use as stone gateposts, lintels and so forth; others were simply dynamited into fragments and used as road metal. Consequently, many stone circles documented centuries ago have been utterly destroyed with nothing remaining to signal that they ever existed.
Stone Circle Photography and Individual Location Maps
The pages linked below contain photographs of selected stone circles, accompanied by a location map. These maps are selected to show the location of each stone circle in its surroundings to best effect: the maps are sourced from Ordnance Survey, Google and Bing. Sites other than stone circles may be included (e.g. the Tullos Cairns in Aberdeen).
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