Hill o'Many Stanes

Stone Rows
Caithness, Highland
Nearest town: Wick
Nearest village: Lybster
Map reference: ND 295384

Hill o'Many Stanes Image Over 200 stones are arranged in a fan-shaped pattern on a slope

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This unusual site is well described as the Hill o'Many Stanes: around 200 small stones are arranged in 22 apparently parallel rows. Actually, these rows aren't parallel, but fan-shaped, running north to south. There is evidence that suggests that there may originally have been over 600 stones.
    Unlike those in Carnac (France), these stones are small, less than 1 m high (3 ft 3 inch) and mostly only a few inches wide. They are set on a south-facing slope, below a cairn lying on top of it.
    Professor Alexander Thom thinks the site (which he designated as Mid Clyth) may have had an astronomical function, and that the stones could have formed a kind of grid by means of which observations of the moon were plotted.
    The site must have been set up in about 1900 BC. A standing stone, now fallen, 45 m (147 ft) to the west of the cairn, might well have been associated with this prehistoric observatory.
  In local tradition, the Hill o'Many Stanes marks the site of a battle between two rival clans, the Keiths and the Gunns. The Gunns won the battle and set up a memorial to the day by burying the dead of both clans in rows, marking the head of each dead warrior with a stone.

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