|29 August 2003
Stone circle discovered near Callanish (updated)
An ancient stone circle, buried for more than 3,000 years, has been uncovered by archaeologists on a ridge overlooking the famous Callanish standing stones, on the Isle of Lewis (Scotland).
The discovery of the 30m circle - called Na Dromannan and larger than the existing ones - was made by a team of archaeologists from Manchester University. Each stone is between 2.1m and 3.6m (7ft and 12ft) long and their construction is unusual because instead of being bedded in earth, they are situated on a rocky outcrop and were originally propped up by stones encircling their bases. Because they were propped up when built, the stones have fallen over and some are broken.
Colin Richards, who led the team, said the discovery was exciting, because it appeared the circle was built on the site of the quarry from which the stones probably originated. 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. What is great from our point of view is that it shows the area where the stones came from may have been significant," he said. "It adds extra weight to the theory that the place the stones came from had a sacred nature. The circles may have taken centuries to go up, one by one. People have tended to see these things as temples. But I think the significance of the process was the dragging of the stones and their size and quality."
The team has uncovered about half of the stones in the circle and plans to return next year to uncover the rest.
Sources: BBC News, The Herald (28 August 2003), Ananova, The Independent (29 August 2003)
Share this webpage: