Building the Great Stone Circles of the North [Paperback]

Colin Richards (Editor)

ISBN: 9781909686120 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2013 | Language: English 320p, H246 x W185 (mm) b/w and col. illus

Building the Great Stone Circles of the North


Of all prehistoric monuments, few are more emotive than the great stone circles that were built throughout Britain and Ireland. From the tall, elegant, pointed monoliths of the Stones of Stenness to the grandeur of Stonehenge and the sarsen blocks at Avebury, circles of stone exert a magnetic fascination to those who venture into their sphere. In Britain today, more people visit these structures than any other form of prehistoric monument and visitors stand in awe at their scale and question how and why they were erected. Building the Great Stone Circles of the North looks at the enigmatic stone structures of Scotland and investigates the background of their construction and their cultural significance. Beginning with a consideration of how the stone structures of Western Scotland can be interpreted, the volume looks in detail at the context of the circles and cairns from Orkney and the Outer Hebrides – from quarrying the raw material to their symbolic role within the landscape – before widening out into a consideration of the societies who built and used them and the myth and folklore that is now embedded within these megaliths.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Building the great stone circles of the North
1. Interpreting Stone Circles (Colin Richards)
2. Monuments in the making: the stone circles of Western Scotland (Colin Richards & Joanna Wright)
Part 2 Stone circles in Orkney
3. Wrapping the hearth: constructing house societies and the tall Stones of Stenness, Orkney (Colin Richards)
4. Investigating the great Ring of Brodgar, Orkney (Jane Downes, Colin Richards, John Brown, A. J. Cresswell, R. Ellen, A.D. Davies, Allan Hall, Robert McCulloch, David C. W. Sanderson & Ian A. Simpson)
5. Monumental risk: megalithic quarrying at Staneyhill and Vestra Fiold, Mainland, Orkney
(Colin Richards, John Brown, Siân Jones, Allan & Tom Muir)
6. Surface over substance: the Vestra Fiold horned cairn, Mainland, Setter cairn, Eday, and a reappraisal of late Neolithic funerary architecture
(Colin Richards, Jane Downes, Ellen Hambleton, Rick Perterson, and Joshua Pollard)
Part 3 Stone circles in the Outer Hebrides
7. The peristalith and the context of Calanais: transformational architecture in the Hebridean early Neolithic (Vicki Cummings & Colin Richards)
8. Erecting stone circles in a Hebridean landscape (Colin Richards, Adrian Challands & Kate Welham)
9. Expedient monumentality: Na Dromannan and the high stone circles of Calanais, Lewis (Colin Richards, George Demetri, Charles French, Robert Nunn, Rebecca Rennell, Mairi Robertson & Lee Wellerman)
10. The sanctity of crags: mythopraxis, transformation and the Calanais low circles (Colin Richards)
11. A time for stone circles, a time for new people (Colin Richards & Seren Griffiths)
12. Constructing through discourse: the folklore of stone circles and standing stones (Tom Muir & Colin Richards)

Reviews & Quotes

" It is extremely well written and an engaging read. It skilfully weaves together the results of fieldwork and excavation, with complex theoretical discussion. To my mind, this is an exemplary example of archaeological writing at its best. "
Gary Robinson
Landscape History

" important and engaging study."
British Archaeology
British Archaeology (02/05/2014)

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