Callanish – 3

The stones of the eastern side of the avenue have only three-quarters of the height of the stones on the western side. When I saw this, I wondered whether this was deliberate or just accidental – why would these details be important to the people who created the site? Do we try and provide explanations for the reasons why things are a certain way at ancient sites, when in fact the creators of these places meant nothing by them? Did the stones of the North Avenue fan out deliberately the further away they went away from the stone circle or was it because the people creating the avenue didn’t have accurate measuring devices or just didn’t care whether the distance between the stones was the same all along the avenue – i.e. they just wanted an avenue of stones heading in a roughly northern direction? I believe they did care, as the central monolith was so accurately aligned north to south, therefore the fanning out was deliberate, but what was the reason for this? Was it meant to represent something? If so, what?  

Another confusing feature are the three rows of stones that join the southern end of the stone circle. One row comes from the direction of east-northeast, one from the south, and one from the west-southwest. The east-northeast row comprises five stones, the southern row also has five stones and the west-southwest row four stones. None of the stone rows is aimed at the centre of the stone circle. Again, is this significant, or have the stones just been displaced over the thousands of years of their existence? It’s worth mentioning the stones at Callanish were abandoned, for whatever task they were intended, around 800BC and that not much is written about them until 1857, when over 5 feet of peat was removed from the site, revealing the chambered grave and the true height of the stones.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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