Around 4000 years ago individuals and groups erected an array of stone settings across Caithness. Some – like the ones at Upper Dounreay and the Hill of Many Stanes – were a series of stone rows. Others, such as at Broubster and Achavanich (shown below) – were curious U-shaped settings. At Guidebest, Latheronwheel Burn are the remains of a stone circle and a cairn arguably one of the biggest stone circles in Scotland. Often, isolated standing stones sit proud in the landscape.
As few of these monuments have been excavated it is very difficult to know what date they are. We also have little idea what these peculiar stone settings were used for. Were they special meeting places where important rituals took place? Were they early observatories for studying the stars? Many standing stones sit next to burial cairns – perhaps they commemorate the dead. Only excavation will provide answers.
Back to Early Metalworkers: Bronze Age