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Stone Circles (General; Miscellaneous; News)

gyrtrash

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 27, 2001
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An ancient stone circle, buried for thousands of years, has been uncovered by archaeologists at a site in the Outer Hebrides.
Experts say the discovery is second in importance only to Stonehenge.

The discovery of the 30m circle - which is at least 3,000 years old and predates Stonehenge - was made by a team of archaeologists from Manchester University.

Mr Richards, who is senior lecturer in the university's School of Art History and Archaeology, has been working on a project for the last two years on the construction of stone circles in the north west of the UK, including Orkney and Arran.

"There are not many stone circles in this condition and I have never seen this type of construction used before," he said.

"It was long thought that there may be a further stone circle on the site but, until now, it has lain undiscovered, buried in the peat.

From; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3186601.stm


I wonder how many more finds of this magnitude are out there waiting to be un-earthed?
 
My favourite is the stone circle at Callanish, also in the Outer Hebrides:

http://henge.org.uk/lewis/callanish.html

The circle is part of a larger design which from the air has an uncanny resemblance to a celtic cross, though the site predates christianity.

Julian Cope used a stylised version of the design on the cover of his 1992 LP Jehovahkill, there is an ariel photo of the site in the sleevenotes and IIRC the original vinyl pressing was only recorded on 3 sides (of a double LP), the fourth side had the layout of the site cut into it.

Marie
 
Yeah, Callanish is a truely magickal place - I spent the weekend of the summer solstice camping there this year and was amazed by the stones. Well worth a pilgramage :) I also dropped in on a lovely elderly couple (embarrased to say I can't recall their name's at this moment) who live close to the stones and had a chat with them about their theories of the stones and took a look around their makeshift museum in a hut in their garden.
 
Unusual new circle near callanais on Lewis

News story off the front page today: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3186601.stm

Very interesting stuff, although I am a little doubtful about the "Experts say the discovery is second in importance only to Stonehenge" quote that gets wheeled out any time anyone finds anything megalithic.

It does suggest that western Lewis sacred landscape is more extensive than previously thought, which is very interesting in itself. Does anyone know if it was any more hospitable there in ancient times? It's quite bleak these days.

More here: http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/archive/28-8-19103-0-5-38.html

I remember when I went to Callanish on a family holiday a few years ago my mum got a kind of electric shock at one point as she walked around the circle. That was quite odd.
 
David Raven said:
........I wonder how many more finds of this magnitude are out there waiting to be un-earthed?

I've wondered what there is on Hoy in Orkney, where there's an isolated block of sandstone that has a tomb hollowed out of it.
It's known as the 'Dwarfie Stane' and is the only rock-cut tomb in the British isles. It's estimated to be about 5,000 years old.

When you see it and how isolated it is, you wonder where the people who carved it came from.

There's beds of peat that are more recent than the tomb, so I suppose there could be settlements similar to Skara Brae on Mainland, or standing stones that have been long buried.

Of course the problem is, where do you start looking?

More info on the Dwarfie Stane:
http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/tombs/dwarfiestane/
 
BlackRiverFalls said:
My favourite is the stone circle at Callanish, also in the Outer Hebrides:
The new circle is also at Callanish:
The find was made close to the four other existing stone circles at the famous standing stones of Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis.

But thr real mystery is is, why did the Beeb put it on their website in the England section? :blah:

One of my favourites too - I've been lucky enough to visit there.

BTW, I've posted elsewhere that the Hebrides would have been largely forested when these circles were built - it was probably human activity that resulted in the extensive peat bog noorland there now.
 
Maybe the circle ain't so 'lost'...

The text is taken from an article on the Megalithic Portal website, quoting from 'The Stones around Callanish' by Gerald and Margaret Ponting;-

Stone Circle in Lewis. The name Druirn nan Eun (ridge of the birds) originated from the first Ordnance Survey of the area. However, local informants are certain that this resulted from the records of a surveyor who misunderstood the Gaelic name he had collected locally.
The correct name; Na Dromannan, literally means "the backs". comparable with the English name for a ridge-shaped hill of "Hogsback".
None of the stones is erect today and it must be a matter of opinion whether they ever were erect.
There are about 19 megaliths at the site, which seem to form a ring of 10, with seven more within the ring and two outliers.

A cliff face, just to the west of site X, is traditionally considered to have been the quarry for the megaliths used to construct the main site at Callanish.

(Megalthic Portal article; http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=274071080 )



The author, Gerald Ponting, is also a member of a mailing list I'm on. Concerning the 'new' discovery, he wrote;-

Yup, that sounds like Na Dromannan, Callanish X - trust a university team 'discover' something which we had fully documented back in 1984 ! Under an incorrect name it was even in the RCAHMS Inventory published in 1928 (but
researched before WWI).

The following aspects of Callanish X match the reports of the discovery in the media descriptions quoted:

on a rocky outcrop
above the small cliff traditionally believed to have been the quarry
for the main Callanish site
surrounded by packers
all now fallen, some broken
the sizes of the stones

What does not fully match up is :

the diameter of 90ft / 30m - as our published plan shows a long axis (of a Thom Type A Flattened Circle) of about 21 m - but maybe they included the outliers
the implication that they had to dig the stones out of the peat, when at least 19 stones were easily seen on the surface.


So, just a 'rediscovery' then?!:rolleyes:
 
There are a few places on Lewis where there are obvious archaeological remains that have never been investigated as far as I can tell. I just think there is so much old stuff and not a whole lot of money for archaeology that there are many sites waiting for people to get around to investigating them. Being where they are there aren't too many people around to disturb them anyways so it's not like the usual "we're building a car park but we'd better let them look for some old pots first" kind of job- the landscape there has been very little touched over a very long time.
 
Stanton Drew stone circles are a good one, just a few miles from Bristol but not easily spotted , you have to know its there. The second biggest stone circle after Avebury ,totally untouched and unrenovated ,the stones (some of them are enormous) are amazing, full of face simulacra and there are strange atmospheres there.
 
There's a website that gives up to date info about the dig, some nice pics too:-

HERE
Link is dead. The latest (2012) version of the MIA webpage can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20120212225938/http://web.onetel.net.uk/~breasclete/Circle_Page.html


As Gerald Ponting has pointed out he wrote about the place in 1984 (and there are written records of it from 1928). It does seem like it was the Press who wanted to 'hype' the discovery of a 'lost' circle.


It does suggest that western Lewis sacred landscape is more extensive than previously thought, which is very interesting in itself. Does anyone know if it was any more hospitable there in ancient times? It's quite bleak these days.

I wondered the same thing Breakfast, about the inhospitable moorland near me. I'm sure I've read somewhere that the climate was a tad warmer back then, and as Rynner says had more extensive tree cover - more shelter.
 
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Recently, husband's friend and colleague died. He was only in his 50s. He was an ex squaddie who had also been a roadie, at one point, for a band who'd had their heyday in the 70s. The band used to visit stone circles when they toured and one that husband's friend loved very much was Castlerigg in Cumbria. We go up there a lot, so they'd had a few conversations about it. Friend also loved jelly babies.

The day before the funeral, we were in Cumbria and realised, at dusk (Oct 31st as well) we would be driving right past the stone circle, so husband decided to leave some sacrificial jelly babies for his friend.

Failing light, but here's one snapshot I got:

IMG_6026.JPG
IMG_6026.JPG
 
I just stumbled on this information—megaliths in Senegal and The Guinea. I had no idea:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senegambian_stone_circles

"According to UNESCO, the Senegambian stone circles are "the largest concentration of stone circles seen anywhere in the world. These sites, Wassu, and Kerbatch in Gambia, and Wanar and Sine Ngayene in Senegal, represent an extraordinary concentration of more than 1,000 stone circles and related tumuli spread over a territory of 100 km wide and 350 km in length, along the River Gambia."
 
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Stone Circles in Gambia.
Overview:

The portion of the Gambia Valley in which menhirs and stone circles of worked pillars occur extends eastward on the north side of the river, from Balangar, 114 miles 184 HENRY PARKER.-&ofle Circles in Gambia. from Bathurst, the capital, at the head of the estuary, up to the Kunchawa On the south bank, according to my information they are found only circumscribed tract about 150 miles from Bathurst (see hatched map). Throughout the pillar-tract, the banks of the river are little above flood level, and the ground rises gently into the interior. At intervals of a few miles low ridges of brown iron-stone rock approach the river, and in some parts run nearly parallel to it for several miles. The rest of the soil is mostly cultivated, the crops grown being various species of millet, ground-nuts, Iiidian corn, cassada or manioc, a little stunted cotton, and small patches of rice in suitable low-lying sites along the drainage lines, and the sides of pools and swampy places.

1714017888826.jpeg

Source: Parker, Henry. “Stone Circles in Gambia.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 53, 1923, pp. 173–228
 

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  • Parker, Henry. “Stone Circles in Gambia.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute o...pdf
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Some Stone Circles in Ireland
Overview:

It is well known that dolmens or cromlechs, great and small, are very numerous in Ireland, but little is heard of circles in that countrv; still there are some and it is to be regretted that Mr. Borlase, when collecting and arranging the miaterials for his great book on The Dolmens of Ireland, in which he records 898 of them (p. 418), did not prepare a list of the circles which he found mentioned on the maps and in the books and manuscripts consulted by him.

1714020974846.jpeg


Source: Lewis, A. L. “Some Stone Circles in Ireland.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 39, 1909, pp. 517–29
 

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  • Lewis, A. L. “Some Stone Circles in Ireland.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institu...pdf
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Stone Circles in Northern Japan
Overview:

My trip through the northern section of Honshu and throughout Hokkaido in the summer of 1959 had a twofold objective, namely to renew friendships with several Ainu families whom I had visited in 1955, and to view and inquire into some of the so-called prehistoric stone circles. In Oyu, Akita Prefecture, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. T. Suwa, a long-time resident of that town, who had discovered and made known to the general public, almost three decades ago, the existence of the stone monuments nearby. In the neighborhood of Otaru, Hokkaido, Mr. Naokichi Nakamura, who has been exploring the stone monu- ments there for many years, was my guide to some of the seven sites at Nishizaki-yama, also to Mikasa-yama and Jichin-yama. In Sapporo I met again my old friend, Dr. S. Kodama, professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at the University of Hokkaido.

1714091339669.jpeg


Source:Gusinde, Martin, and Chiye Sano. “Stone Circles in Northern Japan.” Anthropos, vol. 55, no. 3/4, 1960, pp. 441–455
 

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  • Gusinde, Martin, and Chiye Sano. “Stone Circles in Northern Japan.” Anthropos, vol. 55, no. 34...pdf
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Stone Circles in the Cape Fria Area, Northern Namibia
Abstract:

A series of stone circle complexes in the Cape Fria area of the coast of Namibia is described. Related archaeological and ethnographic evidence, dating, the effect of a harsh environment on the form of structures and the role of the Cape Fria area within the desert environmental system are discussed

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Source: Noli, Dieter, and Graham Avery. “Stone Circles in the Cape Fria Area, Northern Namibia.” The South African Archaeological Bulletin, vol. 42, no. 145, 1987, pp. 59–63
 

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  • Noli, Dieter, and Graham Avery. “Stone Circles in the Cape Fria Area, Northern Namibia.” The S...pdf
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The Stone Circles of Oyu, Japan
Overview:

Overcrowded conditions in Japan have usually been regarded as a modern phenomenon created by increasing industrialization during the past hundred years. This is undoubtedly true in part, but the g reat profusion of N eolithic sites, numbering tens of thousands, is graphic testimony of a country teeming with life, which even at that time might be described as bordering on a state of overpopulation. In later times g reater demands were made on the land for agricultural needs, and it is safe to assume that many Neolithic monuments fell victim to this pressure. Not the least among these must have been the circles of standing
stones that have become of special interest to archaeologists in the last fifteen years​

1714093352657.jpeg


Source: Kidder, J. Edward. “The Stone Circles of Oyu, Japan.” Archaeology, vol. 11, no. 4, 1958, pp. 232–238.
 

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  • Kidder, J. Edward. “The Stone Circles of Oyu, Japan.” Archaeology, vol. 11, no. 4, 1958, pp. 2...pdf
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Switching Mortuary Codes and Ritual Programs: The Double-Monolith-Circle from Sine-Ngayene, Senegal
Abstract:

This paper addresses a number of connected issues revolving around mortuary practices in the Senegambian megalithic traditions, through the lenses of the intriguing double-monolith-circle #27 of Sine-Ngayene, also known as Diallombere. Despite more than a century of archaeological investigation, the diversity of Senegambian megalithic features is still very poorly understood. Most of the cases investigated so far have been claimed to feature single or multiple simultaneous primary burials. The presence of incomplete skeletons is generally explained by poor preservation due to soils corrosive effects. Monument #27, located at the center of the Sine-Ngayene cemetery, presents an unexpectedly long use- life, characterized by shifting ways of arranging humans ' skeletal remains - mortuary codes switching - as well as their associated ritual use of material culture, within the general context of secondary burial practices. Four distinct and successive cycles, spanning over ca 700 years (AD 700- AD 1350), have been identified and the construction sequence of this complex monument deciphered.

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Source: Holl, Augustin F. C., et al. “Switching Mortuary Codes and Ritual Programs: The Double-Monolith-Circle from Sine-Ngayene, Senegal.” Journal of African Archaeology, vol. 5, no. 1, 2007, pp. 127–48
 

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  • Holl, Augustin F. C., et al. “Switching Mortuary Codes and Ritual Programs The Double-Monolith...pdf
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The Stone Circle Sites of Komaland, Northern Ghana
Abstract:

An Iron Age complex which flourished around the fifteenth to the seventeenth century AD is currently under investigation in Komaland, northern Ghana. The complex is known chiefly from its numerous burial sites characterized by stone circles and earth mound superstruc tures, and containing human and animal burials, domestic pottery, milling stones, metal implements and cast figures, together with ubiquitous and distinctive terracotta sculptures. This paper discusses the findings from the first season's excavation and their significance in West African archaeology.

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Source: Anquandah, James. “The Stone Circle Sites of Komaland, Northern Ghana, in West African Archaeology.” The African Archaeological Review, vol. 5, 1987, pp. 171–80
 

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  • Anquandah, James. “The Stone Circle Sites of Komaland, Northern Ghana, in West African Archaeo...pdf
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