Archaeologists have discovered a Stonehenge-like circle in rural Scotland & # 39; – only to discover that farmers and residents have known about it for generations.
The entire stone circle is near Alford, Aberdeenshire, and was reported by Fiona Bain, whose family has been working the land for years.
It is thought that the circle was built about 3500 – 4500 years ago and that each stone is about three feet (one meter) high.
Experts say that although it fits in the reclining stone circle model, it is a somewhat unusual example, because all stones are proportionally small & # 39; to be.
The complete stone circle, pictured, is near Alford, Aberdeenshire, and was reported by Fiona Bain, whose family has been working the land for years
Neil Ackerman, Historic Environment Record Assistant at the Aberdeenshire Council, said that the find is great & # 39; and it is rare that these sites remain unidentified for so long & # 39 ;. On the photo are experts who document the lying stone circle
Neil Ackerman, Historic Environment Record Assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, said: & # 39; This amazing new site contributes to our knowledge of these unique monuments and of the prehistoric archeology of the area.
It is rare that these sites remain unidentified for so long, especially in such a good state.
& # 39; To add a site like this to the record limits of what has been a great year for archeology in Northeast Scotland. & # 39;
What are recumbent stone circles?
Recumbent stone circles (RSC) are among the oldest existing structures in Scotland.
They were built about 4,000 years ago.
They get their name because a big stone in the circle is on its side, or & # 39; recumbent bike & # 39; is.
This stone has an average weight of 24 tons and was carefully lifted and stacked to ensure that their top surface was as flat as possible.
It is thought that these stones may have been used to record seasons or the transition of the moon.
In several cases, RSCs were converted into grave monuments by building an annular cairn in the stone circle.
Many circles were eventually used as cemeteries for cremated bodies.
Up to 99 examples of RSC & # 39; s have been recorded, with diameters ranging from 18.2 m to 24.4 m in Aberdeenshire.
Source: Aberdeenshire Council and Scotland Forestry Commission
Adam Welfare from Historic Environment Scotland (Survey and Recording) explained how the monument in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie was different from other examples found.
He said: & # 39; In ten stones it fits on the average, but its diameter is about three meters smaller than previously known and it is unusual for all stones to be relatively small.
It is oriented SSW and enjoys a nice view in that direction, while the rich lichen cover on the stones is an indication of the antiquity of the ring. & # 39;
Although the news is to archaeologists, the local residents have let their dogs walk past the monument for years.
A member of a Scottish peasant family, now in her 80s, said she remembered the stone circle once in the 1930s, Fox reports.
However, the circle was located on farmland and far from the main roads, which meant that it was not easy to stumble.
Mr. Ackerman told Fox News that the stone circle at Alford is one of the last complete examples to be found in the northeast of Scotland.
He said: & # 39; There are a few bits of Aberdeenshire and North East Scotland in general that are not as well researched as other areas – and this is one of the areas where less work has been done in the past. 39;
Recumbent Stone Circles were built around 3500 – 4500 years ago and are unique in the northeast of Scotland.
Their defining characteristic is a large horizontal stone (the recumbent) flanked by two standing stones, usually located between the southeast and southwest of the circle.
The circle at Alford is unusual because the diameter is about three meters smaller than at other locations and all stones, one of which is depicted, are relatively small
They are well known and scattered throughout northeastern Scotland, but it is rare to find a previously unrecorded instance, especially in such a complete state.
This newly-recognized stone circle will contribute to the understanding of this period of prehistory in Northeast Scotland and of these remarkable locations.
Chairman of the Marr Area Committee, Moira Ingleby, said: "This newly recorded site highlights the internationally important archeology we have in Aberdeenshire.
Toevoegen Adding to the record of well-known archaeological sites will contribute to the understanding of these fantastic monuments unique to the area.
The identification emphasizes the importance of archaeologists established in the Council who are able to work within the community and take note of this local knowledge. & # 39;
Now that archaeologists have looked at the stone circle, it will be included in future research into the area.