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

The Standing Stones of Stenness

Stone Circle


There were once more stones than those in the circle
1760 "There are two standing to the South, one is wanting, and there are two stones standing, a third lying down, then three are wanting, there being a space of 27 yards so that there were eight in all : Eighteen yards South East from the circle is a single stone, and 124 yards to the East of that is another [Odin Stone] with a hole in one side towards the bottom, from which going to the circle is another [stone] 73 yards from the fossee [sic], the outer part of which fossee is 16 yards from the circle" and as this was summertime I guess stumps lay hidden in the grass.
Low ~1774 ""[Stones of Stenness] The drawing shows the stones in their present state, which is four entire and one broken [??recumbent]. It is not ditched about like ... [Ring of Brodgar]..but surrounded with a raised mound partly raised on the live earth, as the other was cut from it... near the circle are several stones set on end without any regular order, or several of them so much broken, hinder us as to the design of them.""
It seems that sometime between 1760 and 1842 several were nudged and then between 1842 and Thomas visit several were destroyed as described. His disbelief arises because he only knew of the circle itself. One of the external stones was a companion to the Watchstone on the other side of the road and further from it, a fat ?recumbent still there in 1842.
1842 "Stones of Stennis... in one case in a vast circle surrounded by a mount, in the other in insulated groups of two or three together, either forming parts of an approach to the circle, or themselves the sole remnants of other corresponding circles...
none of them is very thick in proportion to its height and breadth... The summits are generally diagonal... and they seem also in many cases to be imbedded in the earth by a corresponding sloping corner. Their original position was no doubt perpendicular although others are leaning to their fall, and not a few are lying flat upon the ground...
Although the gigantic remnants near the Kirkwall road are too few in number to indicate the circular form, yet that... is sufficiently manifested by the distinct traces of a large green mound in which they are enclosed... almost continuous semicircle... the other segment having been ploughrd up... One of the largest of these stones now lies flat... having been loosened it is said... by the plough, and soon after blown over by a gale"
wideford Posted by wideford
8th May 2010ce
Edited 9th May 2010ce

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