Archives and Research

Great Crowns of Stone

Great Crowns of Stone

Recumbent stone circles are among the most spectacular ancient structures you could ever hope to see. Silhouetted against a skyline, they dominate the landscape for miles around, presenting a range of architectural devices that draw the visitor to confront a massive horizontal stone placed between two tall pillars on a southern arc. 

These recumbent stones – ‘altar stones’ in popular folklore – are blocked doorways to another world, a world sprung from the imaginations and beliefs of peoples who lived some 4,000 years ago. The densest concentration of stone circles in the British Isles is found in north east Scotland. 

Although far from Stonehenge, these monuments have much in common with that famous structure and other great rings of the ancient world. While some of Scotland’s circles have suffered grievously – plundered of their stones and ploughed up in the 18th and 19th centuries – many still survive largely intact, preserving their enigmatic legacy. 

Illustrated by unique plans and photographs, Great Crowns of Stone is the product of more than ten years of research, drawing on studies stretching back to the early 16th century.

 A landmark book, it presents the most radical and complete account of these evocative ancient monuments ever published.

  • Audiences:

    Researchers, Conservation and Heritage Enthusiasts
  • Contact:

    For more information please call 0845 370 0067 or email
  • Date Published:

    30 August 2011
  • Publisher:

    The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
  • Publication Types:

    Book (General)
  • Author(s):

    Adam Welfare

    Adam is an archaeological investigator for Historic Environment Scotland specialising in the study of stone circles.
  • Format(s):

    ISBN: 9781902419558
    280pp, portrait, 279mm x 216mm
    500 illustrations (full colour)
    Order Book
  • Language:

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