‘Ancient’ Scottish Stone Circle Found To Date Back All The Way To The 90s

4500 years ago is a long time, I think we can all agree. In 2500 BC, the Great Pyramid of Giza had just been built, there were still woolly mammoths on an island in the Arctic Ocean just north of what is now mainland Russia, and it would still be least another 700 years before the emergence of alphabetic writing. You know what’s not that long ago? The 90s. The 90s was pretty recent. The difference between a stone circle being built in 2500 BC and being built in the 90s is pretty huge, I would say.

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This is just how wrong archaeologists were in their initial guesses about a recumbent stone circle discovered in farmland near the Scottish village of Alford, northwest of Aberdeen.

Earlier this month, the circle was reported to the Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeology Service, with its age estimated to be between 3500 and 4500 years old, similar to that of other recumbent stone circles. At the time, Adam Welfare from Historic Environment Scotland noted some aberrations in the circle: “In numbering ten stones it fits the average, but its diameter is about three metres smaller than any known hitherto and it is unusual in that all the stones are proportionately small.” Although he did also note that the “rich lichen cover on the stones” was “indicative of the ring’s antiquity“, which didn’t quite bear out.

The discovery was heralded as a pretty significant discovery, right up until one of the former owners of the farm that the circle was on copped to building it as a replica around 20 years ago.

In a statement from the councilHistoric Environment Record Assistant Neil Ackerman was incredibly cheery about the development: “It is obviously disappointing to learn of this development, but it also adds an interesting element to its story. That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation and engagement with the archaeology of the region by the local community.

I hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed – while not ancient it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.

These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date. For this reason we include any modern replicas of ancient monuments in our records in case they are later misidentified. We always welcome reports of any new, modern reconstructions of ancient monuments, especially those built with the skill of this stone circle and that reference existing monument types.

Hell yeah, brother.