9 of Scotland's ancient (and not so ancient) stone circles and where to find them
Scattered across Scotland there are scores of mysterious stone circles, many dating back millennia, while others, thanks to brazen Aberdeenshire farmers, are less than a quarter of a century old.
The most ancient examples of these stone circles, many of which are thought to have been placed specifically for astronomical purposes by our Neolithic forebears, are truly fascinating. While newer sites, such as the circle at Glasgow's Sighthill housing estate and the 'fake' ancient circle at Leochel-Cushnie in Aberdeenshire, also have their own story to tell. We take a look at 9 examples of stone circles and where to find them.
1. Balfarg Henge, Glenrothes, Fife,2900 BC
Excavated in the late 1970s during the development of a new housing estate, Balfarg consists of two standing stones that were part of an inner circle inside the henge. Archaeologists discovered pottery fragments around the site going back nearly 5000 years. Picture: Michael Westwater/Public Domain
Scotland's most famous stone circle, the standing stones at Callanais are thought to have been erected during the late Neolithic era, some 4,500 years ago. The circle consists of thirteen stones with a monolith close to the centre.
3. Sighthill stone circle, Sighthill, Glasgow, 1979 AD
The first astronomically-aligned stone circle to be erected in Britain in 3000 years, the Sighthill stone circle is situated within a large housing estate and was primarily built as a tribute to the megalith builders of the distant Neolithic era.
Designated UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1999, Brodgar is among the best examples of a stone circle to be found in the UK. Its age remains the subject of debate, but it is thought to be at least 4000 years old.