Stone Circles Of Modern Origin

Ermintruder

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#3
(Plot spoiler- I heard this being reported on BBC Radio4UK yesterday evening, via a live interview with the lead archaeologist: Alford in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Local civic and archeological experts are pleased & proud to be able to publicise the presence of a large mysterious substantially-unrecorded large stone circle, of a style consistent with others in the area.

All goes well, until the farmer who previously owned the land confesses that he built it himself as a hobby project in the early 1990s. Numerous classic tropes apply, including false memories (people who claim it was there in the 1930s), 'experts' who were taken-in completely, false (or at least unupdated) news, supernatural claiments, post-facto statements by authorities....etc)

https://www.livescience.com/64449-ancient-stone-circle-scotland.html

BBC Scotland News on 'replica stone circle'

An Aberdeenshire stone circle initially thought to be thousands of years old has been identified as a modern replica.

An investigation into the site at the parish of Leochel-Cushnie found the stones to be about 20 years old.

It was originally thought to be the site of a recumbent stone circle - until the man who built it came forward.

The findings sparked excitement among experts and were widely reported.

They were initially celebrated as an authentic recumbent stone circle by Adam Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council's Archaeology Service.

Further archaeological analysis of the stones was being conducted when a former owner of the farm contacted Mr Welfare to say he had built the stone circle in the 1990s.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#8
(Plot spoiler- I heard this being reported on BBC Radio4UK yesterday evening, via a live interview with the lead archaeologist: Alford in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Local civic and archeological experts are pleased & proud to be able to publicise the presence of a large mysterious substantially-unrecorded large stone circle, of a style consistent with others in the area.

All goes well, until the farmer who previously owned the land confesses that he built it himself as a hobby project in the early 1990s. Numerous classic tropes apply, including false memories (people who claim it was there in the 1930s), 'experts' who were taken-in completely, false (or at least unupdated) news, supernatural claiments, post-facto statements by authorities....etc)

https://www.livescience.com/64449-ancient-stone-circle-scotland.html

BBC Scotland News on 'replica stone circle'
That's as good as the OOPARTS that crop up regularly on Pinterest, such as a prehistoric mobile phone or two stone slabs melted together, which have "baffled the archaeologists".
Both items were modern pieces of art.
 

GNC

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#11
Seriously though, I do worry this gives fuel to the sort of person who often uses the phrase "so-called experts", but even more troubling, if there was no record of this circle before the 1990s, what made the archaeologists think it was authentic? It's kind of hiding in plain sight.
 

Mikefule

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#13
Seriously though, I do worry this gives fuel to the sort of person who often uses the phrase "so-called experts", but even more troubling, if there was no record of this circle before the 1990s, what made the archaeologists think it was authentic? It's kind of hiding in plain sight.
I heard this story on the talking wireless yesterday and wondered a few things.

Yes, there are almost certainly some stone circles and part stone circles that have not yet been identified.

Many minor stone circles and henges are partly obscured by later soil deposition or erosion, or damaged by stones being taken for other purposes, or disrupted by tree roots, or hidden by bracken and heather. It may not always be obvious that a reclining stone is anything other than natural.

Also, there may be some motive for a landowner not to publicise a small stone circle on his land.

Of course, the radio didn't give a clear idea of the visual effect. They described this one as a "reclining stone circle" but now I've seen the photo, the stones look fairly prominent and erect.

It would of course be conceivable that a genuine ancient circle was covered with bracken and has been cleared since its discovery.

The pendulum has now swung the other way, from acceptance that it was genuine to accepting that it is modern. Journalists are reporting that the previous land owner has "admitted" to making it in the 1990s.

A more objective report would say that he had claimed or alleged or stated that he made it in the 1990s. It is at least conceivable that his claim is a hoax. I doubt it, having heard him speak on the radio, but it is conceivable.

Rather than simply accepting his word, I would hope that archaeologists would move at least one of the stones and look for clues in what lies beneath. They should be able to tell a lot from the condition of the ground beneath the stones. What plant matter is in the ground? Are there marks made by the JCB bucket? Are there marks on the stones which are evidence of modern era quarrying/blasting? Or are there 4,000 year old pollen grains?
 

GNC

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#14
I would have thought the reason they've owned up is maybe because they have tested some or all of those things. Unless the landowner had even more conclusive proof, like a photo or two.
 

Naughty_Felid

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#18
I've visited a minor stone circle which some sources say is prehistoric but others say that there's no reason to suggest it's an antiquity because none of the stones were 'earth-fast'. 'Entirely fortuitous' was the term used.
So the stones were there by chance?
 

EnolaGaia

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#20
I don't see this as all that embarrassing or screwy.

The current landowner 'discovered' the stone circle and reported it to Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council only 2 months ago (in November).

The archaeologist(s) affiliated with one or both these authorities visited the site to look it over and make an initial identification sometime later. This was not a 'dig'; it was merely a visit to check whether the reported circle might actually represent a historical site.

Based on this relatively cursory visit it was initially identified as a recumbent stone circle with unusual features, and an announcement of a newly discovered circle was issued.

The accounts that bother to mention when this announcement occurred differ. Some indicate it was December, but the Council's press release explaining the mistake indicates it was earlier this month (January).

https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/Apps/News/release.aspx?newsID=5220

The news of the first (discovery) announcement reached the former landowner, and he contacted the authorities to advise them he'd constructed the circle as a sort of hobby item or folly.

No in-depth archaeological work was ever done, the former landowner advised them of the misunderstanding ASAP, and the whole affair ran its course in circa 2 months spanning the Xmas / New Years holidaze season.
 

Ermintruder

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#22
I posted about this yesterday in "Oops: The Silly Mistakes Thread" if any mods fancy a little merging project.
I carried out a comprehensive and evidently-ineffective search, and therefore apologise unreservedly to both @GNC and @forteantimes. You rock!
 

Mikefule

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#23
So the stones were there by chance?
(First, to avoid misunderstanding, I'll reiterate that the original reference to the position of stones being "entirely fortuitous" related to another "minor stone circle" and not the one that is the subject of the recent story.)

It is not uncommon for natural formations or shapes of rocks to appear to be deliberately constructed or arranged. Anything that looks like a continuous line looks like a wall; any 3 or more stones in a straight line looks like an alignment; 4 stones fairly evenly spaced look like a square or rectangle; 5 or more stones can make a circle or an oval; two natural rows of stones may appear to be an avenue. If many stones are scattered, for example on a moor, the observer may focus on those that fit a preconceived pattern and ignore the others. If a circle is imperfect, one of the stones may appear to be an outlier. Man is a rationalising animal.

Many geological processes naturally cause rocks to form level surfaces, straight lines, or smooth curves. Rocks deposited by glaciation may lie on top of flattish ground and appear to be out of place — suggesting the idea that they were put there deliberately.

Or, to answer your question more simply: yes. :)
 
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