Recumbent Stone Circle
Gordon, Grampian
Nearest town: Banchory
Nearest village: Echt
Map reference: NJ 715056

Sunhoney Image On the recumbent, now fallen over and broken, are several cup marks

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The recumbent stone circle of Sunhoney stands on the shoulder of a hill, surrounded by a ring of aging trees: oak, ash, pine, maple and beech.
    There are nine stones in the circle, plus the recumbent and its two flankers. The recumbent has fallen over and part of it has broken off; on it there are 31 cup marks which, at this type of site, seem to indicate and symbolize certain positions of the moon. These cup marks have been made by rotating a round stone or pebble. Most of them are simple cups, but occasionally pairs are joined together by a line. Usually, the patterning is random, although in some cases, as at Loanhead of Daviot, the cup marks are arranged in lines.
    The recumbent stone faces the SW. In the centre of the circle is the outline of a ring cairn, in which was found cremated bone and the remains of a pyre. Of all the folklore linked to these stone circles, none provides an adequate explanation of cup marks. Among the several theories, there are suggestions that these cups held blood from sacrifices made on the recumbent stone (this is improbable), or are plans of circular huts, or even mason's marks. The cups may also form some sort of planetary chart, but none match up with even the most prominent constellations. From their position on the stones, an astronomical link seems most likely: at Sunhoney the moonrise is first visible over the decorated recumbent.

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