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Callanish Standing Stones - The History of...

Callanish Standing StonesFirst mentioned by Diodorus Siculus in 55BC the standing stones are believed to be approximately 5,000 years old. The Hebridean scenery of that period would have been completely different from today, the sea was lower and the climate much milder. The weather was ideal for the production of a variety of crops which included Barley. The stones are of Lewisian gneiss. Unlike Stonehenge, the stones of Callanish are not a true circle the layout is more cruxiform in shape.

Callanish, The Standing Stones at Callanish 2A ring of large stones about 12 metres in diameter encloses a huge monolith at its centre. In the centre of the ring are the remains of a chambered cairn. The cairn appears to have been added to the circle, and chambered cairns are considered to be Neolithic in date leading some people to believe the whole site is also Neolithic rather than Bronze Age (but without dating or stratigraphical evidence they are just as likely to be of stone age date).

callanish, The Standing Stones at Callanish 3Running north from the stone circle are two parallel lines of stones forming an avenue about 80 metres long. There are 19 stones in the avenue (with the possibility that some have been removed during farming of the surrounding land). Also running from the circle are single lines of stones to the east (4 stones), west (4) and south (6). If we take the stones at Callanish to be site 1 there are a further 11 sites of standing stones in the immediate area.

Calanais, c. 1935These blackhouses at Callanish were built around 1860 (photograph taken c. 1935 - click to enlarge). If you plan to visit the stones there is now The Calanais Visitor Centre which is well worth a visit.


Read more about the Calanais standing stones in our places to visit - Calanais


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