Aberdeenshire stone circle found to be a replica

The stone circle discovered at Leochel-Cushnie
The stone circle discovered at Leochel-Cushnie

A stone circle found on an Aberdeenshire farm, at first thought to be thousands of years old, has turned out to be a modern replica.

The discovery, near Leochel-Cushnie, was revealed last month.

It initially excited archeologists about another recumbent stone circle to add to the many already identified in the region.

But, following further investigations, it emerged the site is only around 20 years old.

The stones find had been reported by the current farm owner.

Some unusual features were noted, including its small diameter, proportionately small stones and lack of an obvious associated cairn or kerb stones.

However, there is a huge variation between recumbent stone circles, so the differing aspects were not a major cause for concern at the time.

The circle was celebrated as being authentic by Adam Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s archaeology service.

Ongoing analysis was cut short when a former owner of the farm contacted Mr Welfare to say they had built the stone circle in the mid-1990s.

Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “It is obviously disappointing to learn of this development, but it also adds an interesting element to its story.

“That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation and engagement with the archaeology of the region by the local community.

“I hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed – while not ancient it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.

“These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date. For this reason we include any modern replicas of ancient monuments in our records in case they are later misidentified.

“We always welcome reports of any new, modern reconstructions of ancient monuments, especially those built with the skill of this stone circle and that reference existing monument types.”

Recumbent stone circles were constructed around 3,500-4,500 years ago and are unique to the North east.