Recumbent stone circles
Stone circles are common throughout the British Isles, but the type of circle represented at Easter Aquhorthies is found only in north-east Scotland, where there are around a hundred.
Their characteristic feature is a large stone set on its side (recumbent) and flanked by two upright stones, usually on the south or south-west arc of the circle. The tallest stones of the circle are also usually on the same arc.
Such circles were built around 4,000 years ago. Why our Neolithic ancestors built them isn’t known. They may have been used for astronomical observation, to help the local farming community follow the changing seasons. The moon at midsummer, for instance, would have been framed by the recumbent stone and its flankers. Another possibility is that they were built to frame sacred landscape features.
One of the best
The recumbent stone circle at Easter Aquhorthies is one of the best in existence. Eleven upright stones are linked by a low bank to form a circle 19.5m in diameter.
The height of the stones rises from the north-east towards the recumbent stone in the south-west arc. This huge stone rests between the two tallest uprights.
The stones at Easter Aquhorthies show notable geological variations, and appear to have been purposefully chosen for their colour. The circle stones are rough, pinkish porphyry, with the exception of the one next to the east flanker, which is red jasper. Both flankers are grey granite, while the recumbent itself is of red granite quarried from near Bennachie.
- The state of preservation – one of the best recumbent stone circles.
Car parking nearby.
Region – North and Grampian
1m West of Inverurie on the A96.
Grid reference - NJ 732 207.
Telephone 01667 460 232.