Ring of Brodgar

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The ring with Loch of Harray beyond

The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle on Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

The stone circle is 104 metres (341 ft) in diameter, and the third largest in the British Isles.[1] The ring originally comprised 60 stones, of which only 27 remained standing at the end of the 20th century. The tallest stones stand at the south and west of the ring.

The stones are set in a circular ditch up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep, 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 380 metres (1,250 ft) in circumference that was carved out of the solid sandstone bedrock by the ancient residents.[2] Technically, this ditch does not constitute a true henge as there is no sign of an encircling bank of earth and rock. However, many archaeologists refer to this structure as a henge. Aubrey Burl classifies the ditch as a Class II henge; one that has two opposing entrances, in this case on the north-west and south-east.[3]

The Ring is in a significant ritual landscape. Within 2 square miles (5.2 km2) there are the two circle-henges, four chambered tombs, groups of standing stones, single stones, barrows, cairns, and mounds.[4] A number of flint arrowheads and broken stone mace-heads were found nearby. They seem to date from the Bronze Age.[5] The nearby Standing Stones of Stenness and its Maeshowe tomb help to make the Ring of Brodgar a site of major importance.

The Ring of Brodgar

References[change | change source]

  1. The Ring of Brodgar Excavation 2008
  2. Hawkes, Jacquetta 1986. The Shell guide to British archaeology. London: Michael Joseph, 262. ISBN 0-7181-2448-0
  3. Burl, Aubrey 1976. The Stone circles of the British Isles. London: Yale University Press, p101. ISBN 0-300-01972-6, 101
  4. Laing, Lloyd 1974. Orkney and Shetland: an archaeological guide. Newton Abbott: David and Charles, 84. ISBN 0-7153-6305-0, 84
  5. Childe, V. Gordon & W. Douglas Simpson 1952. Illustrated history of ancient monuments, volume VI, Scotland. Edinburgh: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 35.