Scotland's Standing Stones
The Ring of Brodgar:
Scotland is home to many standing stones and I hope to visit as many of them as possible during my lifetime. The one I have had the pleasure of visiting is the Ring of Brodgar located in Orkney, and I was in awe of what I saw. The immense size of the stones placed there by humans using sheer muscle and the simplest of machines was mind blowing. I visited in 2007 and haven't forgotten the feeling of peace and calm that surrounded the stones. Even that doesn't accurately describe what I felt when I touched them. One of the fallen stones was recently re-erected. Protected from time, and the harsh elements, the Viking runes are quite clear. Several of the stones at Brodgar contain runic carvings left by the Nordic people. The burial mounds are nearby, and the surroundings are breathtaking. I could have stayed for hours!
The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle. Most henges don't contain stone circles, which make it unusual. It stands on a narrow strip of land between Loch Stenness and Loch Harray. There are no obvious stones inside the circle, but the interior of the circle has never been excavated by archaeologists. There is a possibility that wooden structures may be present. The circle is thought to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC but the exact date has yet to be determined.
The stone circle is 341 feet in diameter, the third largest in the British Isles. There were originally 60 stones, but only 27 remained standing. The tallest stand south and west of the ring. The stones set in a circular ditch up to 9.8 feet deep, 30 feet wide and 1,250 feet in circumference. This was carved out of solid sandstone bedrock using primitive tools of the period. No one knows it true purpose, but is believed to be a site of great importance as it is located in an area with several other ancient sites. Some do believe that the circle and the burial mounds around it were designed for astronomical observations of the moon. It was suggested that the village of Skara Brae might have been the home of wise men who participated in astronomical and magical ceremonies at sites like Brodgar and Stenness.
The Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness were once known as the Temple of the Sun and Moon. There were supposedly used by young people to make their vows and to pray. The Odin Stone that lay between the stone circles was used for those purposes as well. I plan to blog more about the stones of Scotland, and will give more details of the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Odin Stone.