| 7 June 2003
900 stones at the Ring of Brodgar?
According to Ted Fawcett, a former National Trust official, the Ring of Brodgar stone circle (Scotland) could have looked totally different when it was originally constructed,
He presented the results of his radical research to Ritual Landscapes seminar, organised by ICOMOS-UK, in a talk entitled "Dowsing in the Ring of Brodgar". According to Mr Fawcett, the Ring of Brodgar was originally made up of 900 stones and what remains to is just a tiny fraction of the original Neolithic development. He believes the stone circle would have been very much more impressive and imposing to look at when it was still being used for Neolithic ceremonies, thousands of years ago.
"At Brodgar, you'll now see 23 stones standing upright, with another lot of crumpled bases which adds up to about 36. But if I'm right, there were something like 900 to start with, which makes it a very different sort of monument, because one of the things one needs to realise about the Neolithics is that they did everything in threes. Where you see one stone now, there were three. So the fraction of a ring that we see would be three stones deep, going in towards the centre and then, out beyond the ditch, there would be another ring and 15 paces from that, another ring. So you get three enormous rings of stones." Said Mr Fawcett.
He also added: "They would be entered from north, south, east and west and an avenue of smaller stones leads from those entrance points to the centres. Those stones were smaller and in the very centre there would be a hardened area of about 21 paces across, I think. At the very centre of that hardened area there would be a single upright stone. But the almost unique thing about the Ring of Brodgar is that although it is divided into quadrants by the approach avenues, in each of those quadrants, there was a subsidiary hardened centre with a stone in the middle of it."
Mr Fawcett substantiated his hypothesis during successive visits to Orkney and accepts that the findings are open to interpretation. He explained: "The interpreter is the human being and you can always make incorrect interpretations." Unfortunately however, the geophysics scans of the entire Brodgar peninsula last year have revealed nothing of Mr Fawcett's theorised 900 stones or additional circles, but it's still an interesting theory.
Source: Orkneyjar Archaeology News (4 June 2003)
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