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

Hill O'Many Stanes

Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue


Unique in Britain to Caithness and Sutherland are multiple rows of small standing stones set out in parallel lines or fan shapes, thought to date from the early Bronze Age. They are found sometimes in the neighbourhood of cairns, that is, burial sites, and may have had a religious function, though in the 1970s Professor Alexander Thom argued that they were used to calculate the movements of the moon.

Whatever their original purpose, such rows are still a fantastic sight. The best preserved run down the slopes of a low hill at Mid Clyth known as the Hill O' Many Stanes. They are small flat stones wedged upright with their broad faces aligned in more than twenty rows, fanning out slightly towards the southern end. Today about 200 stones remain, but it is thought the pattern could have involved 600 or more.

A popular belief that gold was hidden beneath the stones may have led to the removal of stone, and others have been destroyed by agriculture or removed for building, but as in the case of stone circles, it was said to be dangerous to interfere with them. A farmer at Bruan is said to have removed one of the Mid Clyth stones to use as a lintel above the fireplace of a kiln. When the fire was lit, the stone burst into flames but remained mysteriously unconsumed. This made him so fearful that he hastily returned the stone to the place in the row that he had taken it from.

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drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
28th January 2024ce

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