Stone circle found on Aberdeenshire farm

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

A stone circle has been found on a farm in Aberdeenshire.

The discovery was made near Leochel-Cushnie and had until now been unknown to archaeologists.

The site was reported to Aberdeenshire Council’s archaeology service by Fiona Bain, whose family have farmed in the area for generations.

Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at the council, visited the area along with Adam Welfare, Alison McCaig and Katrina Gilmour, from Historic Environment Scotland (Survey and Recording).

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

Their defining feature is a large horizontal stone (the recumbent) flanked by two upright stones, usually situated between the south-east to south-west of the circle.

The visiting team said that while fitting the recumbent stone circle model, the Leochel-Cushnie find is a ‘slightly unusual example’.

Mr Welfare said: “In numbering ten stones it fits the average, but its diameter is about three metres smaller than any known hitherto and it is unusual in that all the stones are proportionately small.

“It is orientated SSW and enjoys a fine outlook in that direction, while the rich lichen cover on the stones is indicative of the ring’s antiquity.”

Mr Ackerman added: “This amazing new site adds to our knowledge of these unique monuments and of the prehistoric archaeology of the area.

“It is rare for these sites to go unidentified for so long, especially in such a good condition.

“To be able add a site like this to the record caps off what has been a fantastic year for archaeology in North-east Scotland.”

The newly-recognised stone circle will add to the understanding of this period of the prehistory of the North-east and of these historic sites.

Chair of the Marr Area Committee, Moira Ingleby, said: “This newly-recorded site highlights the internationally important archaeology we have within Aberdeenshire.

“Adding it to the record of known archaeological sites will add to the understanding of these fantastic monuments that are unique to the area.

“Its identification highlights the importance of having archaeologists based at the council who are able to work within the community and pick up on this local knowledge.”

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