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27 December 2019
Lightning strike may have inspired builders of Callanish

A geophysical survey around one of the standing stones on the northwestern Scotland island of Lewis reveals a star-shaped pattern resulting from one or more lightning strikes covering an area up to 20 metres in diameter.
     The single stone within is about 2,800 metres from the famous Callanish stone circle. New evidence shows this 1.5-metre-high stone was originally part of another circle with the lightning strike pattern at its centre. The Callanish great circle is thought to have been erected around 3,000 BCE. More than 15 other sites on the island have been identified as possible 'satellite' circles.
     Project leader Dr Richard Bates, a geoscientist at St Andrews University, says the lightning strike occurred before peat started to form around 3,000 years ago.
     Professor Vincent Gaffney, one of the archaeologists, says "We're really excited. This was completely and utterly unexpected. Seeing the evidence for a massive strike, right in the middle of what now seems to be a stone circle, is remarkable." Gaffney's brother, Dr Chris Gaffney, an archaeological geophysicist, said that it was impossible to see the fossilised lightning strike by just walking across the site: "You literally have to peel back all of the peat potentially to see the scarring on the bedrock."

Edited from The Guardian (21 December 2019), Mail Online (22 December 2019)

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