Tucked away at the very North of the country in Orkney sits the largest stone circle in Scotland, Ring of Brodgar. The archaeological treasure is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also one of the most photographed attractions in the island with its dramatic vistas during the sunset. The circle is around 5000 years old, making it older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt, yet younger than its smaller close neighbour, Stones of Stenness. Also, just to give you a size comparison, Stonehenge could fit inside of Ring of Brodgar.
Where did the stones come from and how did the people manage to put them up?
Now, people might wonder, where did the stones come from and how did the ancient builders got them up? The answer on the origins of the stones seems to be straightforward – the large stones came from all over Orkney, and there are still some left lying around on supports to be rolled away. While the original rollers are probably not gonna show up anymore to pick up the stone, it is simply hauntingly beautiful to look at.
The most likely scenario is that the poor ancient locals were dragging these giant stones to the sacred place, and we can’t even imagine how badly their backs must have hurt. According to theories by experts, the people of the Neolithic Scotland had to either drag the stones around the hills to move them, or use wooden rafts to float the massive pieces around.
However, using the coast to float the stones version is highly unlikely as The Stenness Loch was not connected to the sea back then. While there are 21 remaining standing stones, 40 stones have been identified with room for a total of 60 stones if they were all evenly spaced.
What was Ring of Brodgar used for?
The Ring of Brodgar is a part of huge ancient ceremonial sites around Orkney. Stones of Stenness site is closeby, as well as a Barnhouse Neolithic settlement and the Ness of Brodgar. The sites are also surrounded by Bronze Age burial mounds and tombs, further confirming the long-standing sacred meaning of this area.
What’s the mystery behind Ring of Brodgar?
Those who have heard about ceremonial sites around the world will know that usually they are astronomically aligned. However, the Ring of Brodgar has zero astronomical alignment. So, what does it align with, then? The answer is unknown, as well as the true meaning behind this structure. Maybe it was a place for weddings, markets or gatherings. The answers will probably remain hidden, as there is no sure-fire way to find out the beliefs and values of the people of Neolithic Scotland. In the meantime, we will keep enjoying the beautiful views of Orkney and those sunset shots.