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Stones of Stenness

Standing Stones, Orkney

Sunset through the
two main stones

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for 4 Hi-Res images

Three impressive uprights, two pictured above, one below. Originally a stone circle of twelve stones 30m diameter, in a rock-cut ditch like the nearby Ring of Brodgar. Excavations in 1973 revealed a central setting of stones, no longer visible, with cremated bone, charcoal, and grooved ware pottery. This style of pottery and the radiocarbon dating suggests a date of 3000BC. This is the same period as the Skara Brae coastal settlement. Nearby is the Watch Stone, and once the Stone of Odin stood nearby as well. The latter was toppled in 1814 by the locals. Apparently the stone had a small hole, through which bargains were sealed, and love plighted formally by grasping hands through the hole.


Access: Immediately east of B9055, and well signposted. A Historic Scotland site (state care). Free entry

Rating: General Impression 5, Ambience 5, Access 5

Personal: The enormous height and narrowness of the huge slab (pictured on end in the top photograph) must be seen. How it has stood for five millenia without cracking is beyond me. 

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Above photographs Andy Burnham unless otherwise stated

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