Highlights of Scotland

Recumbent stone circle at Midmar Kirk

===> Nederlandse versie

Text on an information sign at this site, which is west of Echt, on the B9119:

Recumbent stone circles

Recumbent stone circles (dating to the third millenium B.C.) are circles of standing stones whose two talles stones -- on the south-western arc -- flank a massive slab laid on its side (the recumbent) and wedged/chocked up so the upper surface is level. The recumbent and its flankers frame the moon rising or setting in the southern sky, thus enabling useful lunar observations of broad seasonal change to be made by the small farming communities who built the circles.

Found in the rich farmlands of NE Scotland these circles, usually situated on the crest of hills or terraces with wide southerly views, are cinsidered to have been communal ritual centres.

Midmar Kirk

The recumbent is 4.5 metres long and weighs 20 tons and is flanked most impressively by two matching stones 2.5 metres high and resembling enormous canine teeth.

The size and weight of the recumbent show the skill and determination of the circle builders in handling large blocks of stone. They had, after all, no cranes, lorries or made-up roads to help them. This testimony of their skill is reinforced by how they have ensured the upper surface of the recumbent is level. They had to use chocking stones, particularly at the westerly end, to achieve this. This is visible from the outside of the circle.

The church was built in 1797. The circle was tidied up when the graveyard was laid out around it in 1914. At this time, presumably, at least one stone was re-erected: that standing on the NNE of the circle, since its size does not follow the normal grading down from the flankers. Moreover, the recumbent and the easterly flanker are not exactly on the line of the circle as it is now laid out. The tidying up seems also to have removes traces of a later burial cairn.

<=== Some stone circle, west of Aberdeen, where you came from.

Go (back) to: Main Scotland page # Stay in Dundee page # Scotland photo index

Jos van Geffen -- Home  |  Site Map  |  Contact Me

last modified: 6 March 2000