A stone circle is a monument of stones arranged in a circle or ellipse. Such monuments have been constructed in many parts of the world throughout history for many different reasons. The best known tradition of stone circle construction occurred across the British Isles and Brittany in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, with over 1000 surviving examples, including Avebury, the Ring of Brodgar and Stonehenge. Another prehistoric tradition occurred in southern Scandinavia during the Iron Age, where stone circles were built to be mortuary monuments to the dead. Outside Europe, examples of stone circles include the 6300~6900 BCE Atlit Yam in Israel and 3000~4000 BCE Gilgal Refaim nearby, and the Bronze Age monuments in Hong Kong. Stone circles also exist in a megalithic tradition located in Senegal and the Gambia.
This is an incomplete photographic list of these stone circles.
See also Aboriginal stone arrangement Stone circles in Australia are sometimes revered as sacred sites by the Australian Aboriginal people. While often small, there are some large stones comparable to their European counterparts, particularly in Victoria. While some are small and not well attended, others are well-known, for instance the stone arrangements in Victoria at Carisbrook and Lake Bolac.
Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists 1,303 stone circles in Britain, Ireland and Brittany. Most of these are found in Scotland, with 508 sites recorded. There are 316 in England; 187 in Ireland; 156 in Northern Ireland; 81 in Wales; 49 in Brittany; and 6 in the Channel Isles.
Aubrey Burl records six sites in the Channel Islands, four on Guernsey and two on Jersey. All six are Cist-in-Circle monuments, which are influenced by chambered tomb design. Their relationship with the stone circle tradition of Britain, Ireland and Brittany is unclear.
Aubrey Burl lists 43 stone circles in Dumfries and Galloway: 15 in Dumfriesshire; 19 in Kirkcudbrightshire; and 9 in Wigtonshire. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 49 stone circles in the region. Of these 49, 24 are listed as 'possible'; one is an 18th-century construction; and a number have been destroyed.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 20 stone circles in North Ayrshire, all on Arran. Five of these are listed as 'possible'. Aubrey Burrel's gazetteer records 19 stone circles on Arran.
There are two stone circles on Orkney, both on the Mainland. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records a possible third at Stoneyhill, also on the Mainland.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 16 stone circles in the Scottish Borders. Of these, three are marked as 'possible'. Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists the same number: 2 in Berwickshire; 2 in Peebleshire; 10 in Roxburghshire; and 2 in Selkirkshire.
Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists seven sites in Shetland, but notes that all are dubious. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records three stone circles. It does not include Hjaltadans, which is instead categorised as a 'stone setting'.
Ōyu Stone Circles Ōyu Stone Circles (大湯環状列石 Ōyu Kanjyō Resseki) is a late Jōmon period (approx. 2,000 – 1,500 BC) archaeological site in the city of Kazuno, Akita Prefecture, in the Tōhoku regionof northern Japan. The site consists of two large stone circleslocated on an artificially flattened plateau on the left bank of the Oyu River, a tributary of the Yoneshiro River in northeastern Akita Prefecture. The site was discovered in 1931, with detailed archaeological excavations taking place in 1946, and in 1951-1952.
The larger circle, named the “Manza” circle has a diameter of 46 meters, and is the largest stone circle found in Japan. A number of reconstructions of Jomon period dwellings have been built around the site. The slightly smaller circle, named the “Nonakado” circle, is 42 meters in diameter and is located around 90 meters away, separated from the “Manza” circle by Akita Prefectural Route 66. Each circle is made from rounded river stones brought from another river approximately 7 kilometers away. Each circle in concentric, with and inner and an outer ring separated by an open strip approximately 8 meters wide.Each circle contains smaller clusters of stone, including standing stones surrounded by elongated stones in a radiating orientation, forming a sundial which points toward the sunset on the summer solstice and allows for calculation of the winter solstice, the vernal equinox and the sun's movements.
Each circle is surrounded by the remains of buildings, storage pits and garbage dumps, and clay figurines, clayware and stoneware (including everyday pottery), stone swords and objects have been discovered. Although the form of the stone circles made have been based on the shape of circular settlements, there is no indication of permanent settlement on the site.
The site has been submitted for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the Jōmon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaidō, Northern Tōhoku, and other regions https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ōyu_Stone_Circles
Blue cairn circle is a 21 metres (69 ft) diameter stone circle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In the center is a large stone cairn with several pits in it.Bryn Gwyn stones
The Bryn Gwyn stones stand about 280 metres (920 ft) to the south-west of Castell Bryn Gwyn, on the low ridge some 2 m (7 ft) above the valley of the Afon Braint on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales.
They are the tallest standing stones in Wales, nearly 4 m high (13 ft). In 1723 Henry Rowlands described them as part of a ruinous circle of eight stones, some 16 m (52 ft) across. An account of 1797 says that "ignorant country people supposing money was hid under them tore them up" and today only two stones, one slab and one pillar, stand in a modern field bank. Nothing else is visible on the ground, but a 2008 excavation found three pits of standing stones, two containing stone stumps, consistent with the record by Rowlands. Further excavations in 2010 identified the pits of three more removed standing stones, making seven identified in all of the eight expected to make up the original circle.The pit of a further stone, inside the circle, shows it was a 'blade-style' stone, with an alignment with the summer solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset. A public footpath runs past the stones from Bryngwyn-mawr on the A4080 road, continuing north-east on a low ridge past Castell Bryn Gwyn and some 800 metres further to Caer Lêb. From the Bryn Gwyn Stones the midsummer sun rises over the centre of Castell Bryn Gwyn.In the 18th century a cottage was built with the wide stone as its end wall. Notches round its top show where roof timbers had been fitted. With the removal of the cottage (which had occupied an area inside the stone circle) the stones were used as a gateway through the field hedge.Further to the north-east at Tre'r Dryw Bach, another large stone circle was reported by 18th century visitors but has since been cleared away.Croft Moraig Stone Circle
Croft Moraig Stone Circle (also Croftmoraig) is a prehistoric stone circle situated four miles southwest of Aberfeldy, Scotland (grid reference NN79754726). It is a scheduled monument.Duddo Five Stones
Duddo Five Stones (grid reference NT930437) is a stone circle north of Duddo in North Northumberland, approximately 4miles (6km) South of the Scottish Border. The stones were known as the Four Stones until 1903, when the fifth stone was re-erected to improve the skyline. There were originally seven stones, the empty sockets of two stones being found on the western side during excavation in the 1890s.The stones are formed of a soft sandstone. They have become deeply fissured by natural weathering since erection in the Early Bronze Age, approximately 4000 years ago
The site of the Duddo Stones offers panoramic views of the Cheviot Hills to the South and the Lammermuir Hills to the north.
The circle is accessible via the B5364 road, through a gate and up a path. The stones are on private land with no formal right of way, but the landowner has cleared a permissive path across the field to the stones. The location was the subject of an archeological investigation in 2008.Easthill stone circle
Easthill stone circle (grid reference NX91937388), also known as the Seven Grey Stanes, is a small oval stone circle 3¾ miles south-west of Dumfries. Eight stones of a probable nine remain. Despite being considerably smaller, the shape and orientation of the circle link it to the nearby Twelve Apostles and the other large ovals of Dumfriesshire.Girdle Stanes
The Girdle Stanes (grid reference NY 25351 96153) is a stone circle near Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway. The western portion of the circle has been washed away by the White Esk, leaving 26 of an original 40 to 45 stones in a crescent. Unlike the majority of such sites in Dumfriesshire, the Girdle Stanes forms a true circle rather than an oval. When complete, its diameter would have been 39m.Its situation, shape and construction link it to the Cumbrian circles to the south. In particular, it has a number of similarities with the Swinside circle in the south-west of the Lake District. Like Swinside, the tallest stones are positioned at the north of the circle, and there is an apparent entrance in the south-east. Both circles have a solar alignment. However, while Swinside is aligned to the midwinter sunrise, the Girdle Stanes is aligned to the sun's southernmost rising at the beginning of November, which correlates with the festival of Samhain.A line of stones leads north to the Loupin Stanes; it is possible that this is the remains of an avenue linking the two circles.Glenquicken stone circle
Glenquicken stone circle or Billy Diamond's Bridge stone circle (grid reference NX50965821) is an oval stone circle with a central pillar, two miles east of Creetown, Dumfries and Galloway. The outer ring is formed of 29 stones. Aubrey Burl has called it "the finest of all centre-stone circles." It is a scheduled ancient monument.Two other circles to the north-west were marked on the Six-inch First Edition Ordnance Survey map. Alexander Thom planned these in 1939, but they are no longer visible.Hjaltadans
Hjaltadans, also known as Fairy Ring or Haltadans stone circle, is a stone circle on the island of Fetlar in Shetland, Scotland. This site is a ring of 38 stones, of which 22 are still fixed in the soil, and it is 11 metres (37 ft) in diameter. Inside this is an earthen ring 7.9 metres (26 ft) in diameter, with a 1.5 metres (5 ft) gap in the southwest side. In the center of the rings are two rectangular pillars.According to J. Jakobsen, the name Haltadans means: "lame or limping dance". This is a reference to the legend that the circle of stones was once a circle of dancing trolls and that the two rock pillars in the centre were once a fiddler and his wife. They had fiddled and danced all night long, and, heedless of the time, were still fiddling and dancing when the sun rose and petrified them all.Killin Stone Circle
Killin Stone Circle (or Kinnell Stone Circle) is a prehistoric stone circle situated at the west end of Loch Tay near the village of Killin, Stirling, Scotland. It is a scheduled monument.List of Stone Age art
This is a descriptive list of art from the Stone Age, the period of prehistory characterised by the widespread use of stone tools. This page contains, by sheer volume of the artwork discovered, a very incomplete list of the works of the painters, sculptors, and other artists who created what we now call prehistoric art. For fuller lists see Art of the Upper Paleolithic, Art of the Middle Paleolithic, and Category:Prehistoric art and its many sub-categories.List of megalithic monuments in Cork
This is an incomplete list of megalithic monuments in County Cork, Ireland.
Drombeg stone circle
Knocknakilla megalithic complex
Labbacallee wedge tomb
Templebryan Stone CircleList of stone circles in Dumfries and Galloway
This is a list of stone circles located in the Dumfries and Galloway council area. It is compiled from Aubrey Burl's 'County Gazetteer of the Stone Circles in Britain, Ireland and Brittany' and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland's 'Canmore' database. Between them, these two sources list 61 stone circles in the region. Many of these have been destroyed, some remains have not been conclusively identified as stone circles, some were dubious before their destruction and some have not been located by modern surveys.
The following sites are the best preserved:
Standing Stones of Glenterrow
WhitcastlesList of stone circles in the Scottish Borders
This is a list of stone circles located in the Scottish Borders council area of Scotland. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 16 stone circles in the Scottish Borders. Of these, three are marked as 'possible'. Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists the same number: 2 in Berwickshire; 2 in Peebleshire; 10 in Roxburghshire; and 2 in Selkirkshire.The best preserved sites are the following:
The Loupin Stanes (grid reference NY25709663) is a stone circle near Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway. Oval in shape, it consists of twelve stones set on an artificial platform. At the WSW of the circle are two large pillars, which are typical of the 'entrance circles' of south-west Scotland. The circle takes its name from the tradition of leaping between the tops of these two stones.There were two other circles nearby, which are now ruined and almost imperceptible. A line of stones leads south to the Girdle Stanes; it is possible that this is the remains of an avenue linking the two circles.Strichen Stone Circle
Strichen Stone Circle is a small Megalithic stone circle located in the north east of Scotland, near Strichen, Aberdeenshire.
Strichen Stone Circle stands on a hill near Strichen House. In 1773 it was visited by James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, as the lexicographer was interested in seeing a "druid's temple". They found only the recumbent stone with its flankers, and one other stone. The arrangement was completely destroyed around 1830, and again, after reconstruction, in 1960. On both occasions the stones were completely removed. On one occasion the stones were removed by a tenant farmer who was ordered to replace then by his landlord. The site was excavated in 1975, and again in 1980-82 when the circle was re-erected.
The circle contains the remains of a ruined ring-cairn. Excavation finds have included a cremation and urn, a cup-marked stone, and a damaged cist. The stony bank around the circle was found to have been strewn with quartz chippings. Within the ring of the present day circle, there were what appeared to be the postholes of an earlier timber ring. The recumbent measures about 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) in length by 1.05 metres (3.4 ft) in height and is situated on the south-south-east of the ring.
Between 1980 and 1982 reconstruction stones were located in the original stoneholes and their height grading was recreated. It is uncertain, however, that each stone was returned to its original position. By 1999 one of the stones re-erected in 1982 had fallen over.Sunhoney
Sunhoney is a stone circle of the recumbent type, which is common in the Grampian region, in particular at the River Dee. Sunhoney is situated about 2 km west of Echt in Aberdeenshire.
The diameter is about 25 m and is formed by 11 Stone of red granite or gneiss. When looking above the laying stone of grey granite the horizon of the hills to the south can be seen. The laying stone seems to have tumbled, its surface is covered with 31 cup marks, thought to be markers of where the major standstill moon rises or sets. Inside the circle is a ring cairn, which was added later. At the excavation in 1865 remains of cremations were discovered.
Another recumbent stone circle is about 2 km to the west, near the church of Midmar Kirk.
The site has been designated a scheduled ancient monument.The Goatstones
The Goatstones is a Bronze-Age four-poster stone circle located near Ravensheugh Crags in Northumberland, England. It is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to the north of Hadrian's Wall in the parish of Wark-on-Tyne. The name is thought to be derived from the Saxon "gyet stanes" meaning "wayside stones". The monument probably had some kind of religious purpose.The stones are no higher than 80 centimetres (31 in), and are separated by a distance of approximately 4 metres (13 ft). The smallest stone is decorated with 13 cup marks, or small depressions in the rock, a well known form of prehistoric rock art in Northumberland. The Goatstones is the only recorded example of a four-poster stone circle bearing cup marks. Grooves can be seen on some of the other stones. Within the circle there are traces of a low mound. This is thought to be the remains of a stone cairn which predates the construction of the stone circle and may have been the site of Bronze-Age burials.Four-poster stone circles are found mainly in Scotland, particularly in Perthshire, and more rarely in Ireland, Wales and England. Another example in Northumberland is the Three Kings in the parish of Rochester.
No professional archaeological excavations have been carried out at the Goatstones. The monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.Twelve Apostles Stone Circle
The Twelve Apostles (grid reference NX9470079400) is a large stone circle located between the villages of Holywood and Newbridge, near Dumfries, Scotland. It is the seventh largest stone circle in Britain and the largest on the mainland of Scotland. It is similar in design to the stone circles of Cumbria, and is considered to be an outlier of this group. Its south-westerly arrangement aligns it with the midwinder sunset.It is a scheduled ancient monument.Whitcastles stone circle
Whitcastles or Little Hartfell (grid reference NY 2240 8806) is a stone circle 6½ miles NE of Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway. Nine fallen stones lie in an oval measuring 55m by 45m. The largest stones lie to the north and south of the circle; interest in cardinal points is a common feature in the stone circles of the Solway Firth. It was designated as a scheduled monument in 1937.