The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian



Gavin MacGregor suggests why Bennachie is so important in the landscape, and hence why "the majority of RSCs are relatively close to, or have a view of, the mountain.."
The distinctiveness of Bennachie's form is from the series of prominent peaks on its top: Mithers Tap, Oxen Craig, Watch Craig, Brunt Wood Tap, and Hermit Seat.

At one point on the plateau.. there is a basin surrounded by four peaks: to the east Mithers Tap, to the south Brunt Wood Tap, to the west Watch Craig and to the north Oxen Craig. Apart from a limited view to the north, this basin prevents views of the landscape below. The experience is of being enclosed by both land and sky. This is clearly a distinctive place on the mountain.

When you continue to walk within this natural amphitheatre toward the most prominent peak of Bennachie, Mithers Tap, the distinctive form of the Tor becomes apparent. The western side of Mithers Tap has a substantial cleft in the rock which when viewed from below has a geometric form to it. Together, Mithers Tap and the three other peaks veiwed from within the basin form a topographic monument...

.. I would argue that Bennachie is likely to have had considerable importance within cosmologies during the third and second millennia BC in the region, and the nature of experience at the top of Bennachie provided the source of inspiration for th form of the RSC tradition. Construction of a particular form of monument was an explicit statement by local communities of wider shared-belief systems. In the case of Bennachie, the basic form of the topographic feature was unambiguous..
from 'Making Monuments out of Mountains..' by Gavin MacGregor, p141-158 in 'Colouring the Past' ed A Jones and G MacGregor (2002), partly online at Google Books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd May 2007ce
Edited 22nd May 2007ce

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