Ring of Brodgar

This megalithic henge and stone circle in the Orkneys in the far north of Scotland is the third largest in Britain. Six miles north east of Stromness it is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site (The Heart of Neolithic Orkney) yet its dating remains uncertain, estimated at 2,500-2000BC, but still resisting scientific certainty. Excavations in 2008 still await comprehensive publication. There are 27 stones still standing from the original 60 and Brodgar is almost certainly part of a larger ritual landscape approximately three miles long including the mound of Maes Howe. Within two square miles there are a further two circle henges, four chambered tombs, standing stones, mounds and cairns. So plenty of activity for such a remote landscape. Most of the stones of Brodgar are about 7 feet tall while one impressive sentinel stone is 15 feet tall.

There are similar dimensions here to those found at Avebury and Newgrange but at this point we enter the contested world of measurement. Which measurement system were the ancients using? This has been examined at some length in the work of John Michell and Robin Heath (see particularly ‘The Measure of Albion – The Lost Science of Prehistoric Britain’ Bluestone Press 2008). At the beginning of ‘The Measure of Albion’ Paul Broadhurst writes, ‘ two of the most experienced and respected researchers into the wisdom of the ancients each present their own perspective on a discovery, one which reveals how ancient wisdom was preserved in code within the landscape of Old Albion.’

Location: Signposted on the A965 on Orkney mainland between Stromness and Finstown.
Coordinates: 59.0020°N 3.2287°W

Photo credit: Alexander Reuss, Wiki Images CC