A stone circle is a monument of stones arranged in a circle or ellipse. Such monuments have been constructed in many parts of the world throughout history for many different reasons. The best known tradition of stone circle construction occurred across the British Isles and Brittany in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, with over 1000 surviving examples, including Avebury, the Ring of Brodgar and Stonehenge. Another prehistoric tradition occurred in southern Scandinavia during the Iron Age, where stone circles were built to be mortuary monuments to the dead. Outside Europe, examples of stone circles include the 6300~6900 BCE Atlit Yam in Israel and 3000~4000 BCE Gilgal Refaim nearby, and the Bronze Age monuments in Hong Kong. Stone circles also exist in a megalithic tradition located in Senegal and the Gambia.
This is an incomplete photographic list of these stone circles.
See also Aboriginal stone arrangement
Stone circles in Australia are sometimes revered as sacred sites by the Australian Aboriginal people. While often small, there are some large stones comparable to their European counterparts, particularly in Victoria. While some are small and not well attended, others are well-known, for instance the stone arrangements in Victoria at Carisbrook and Lake Bolac.
Britain, Ireland and Brittany
Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists 1,303 stone circles in Britain, Ireland and Brittany. Most of these are found in Scotland, with 508 sites recorded. There are 316 in England; 187 in Ireland; 156 in Northern Ireland; 81 in Wales; 49 in Brittany; and 6 in the Channel Isles.
Aubrey Burl records six sites in the Channel Islands, four on Guernsey and two on Jersey. All six are Cist-in-Circle monuments, which are influenced by chambered tomb design. Their relationship with the stone circle tradition of Britain, Ireland and Brittany is unclear.
||La Plate Mare
||Castlerigg – A 33m diameter ring consisting of 38 stones.
||Stanton Drew – One of three circles located near the village of Stanton Drew.
||Withypool Stone Circle – Located on the Exmoor moorland, near the village of Withypool. Only the stones present on the two ends of the circle are visible.
||Avebury – A large stone circle surround the village of Avebury.
||Stonehenge – A World Heritage site.
Republic of Ireland
There are 187 stone circles in the Republic of Ireland. The vast majority of these are in County Cork, which has 103 circles. There are 20 circles in County Kerry and 11 in County Mayo.
||Kenmare stone circle
||Lissyvigeen stone circle
||Shronebirrane stone circle
||Tomnaverie recumbent stone circle, Aberdeenshire.
Argyll and Bute
Dumfries and Galloway
Aubrey Burl lists 43 stone circles in Dumfries and Galloway: 15 in Dumfriesshire; 19 in Kirkcudbrightshire; and 9 in Wigtonshire. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 49 stone circles in the region. Of these 49, 24 are listed as 'possible'; one is an 18th-century construction; and a number have been destroyed.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 20 stone circles in North Ayrshire, all on Arran. Five of these are listed as 'possible'. Aubrey Burrel's gazetteer records 19 stone circles on Arran.
There are two stone circles on Orkney, both on the Mainland. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records a possible third at Stoneyhill, also on the Mainland.
Perth and Kinross
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records 16 stone circles in the Scottish Borders. Of these, three are marked as 'possible'. Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists the same number: 2 in Berwickshire; 2 in Peebleshire; 10 in Roxburghshire; and 2 in Selkirkshire.
Aubrey Burl's gazetteer lists seven sites in Shetland, but notes that all are dubious. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland records three stone circles. It does not include Hjaltadans, which is instead categorised as a 'stone setting'.
||Atlit Yam (6300-7000 BCE: oldest known in the world, as of 2014) – Located south of Haifa.
||Odry – Odry in Poland.
- ^ "Field survey in the tumulus zone of Senegal". The African Archaeological Review. 11-11: 73–107. doi:10.1007/BF01118143.
- ^ : 173–228. JSTOR 2843758.
- ^ Long, A. & Schell, P., 1999, Lake Bolac stone arrangement (AAV 7422-394); management plan. An unpublished report to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.
- ^ Aubrey, Burl (2000). The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. p. 395.
- ^ Burl, Aubrey (2000). The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. p. 403.
- ^ a b c d Burl, Aubrey (2000). The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. p. 394.
- ^ "Canmore Advanced Search: Stone Circle: Dumfries and Galloway". Retrieved 2014-12-31.
- ^ a b "Canmore Advanced Search: Stone Circle: North Ayrshire". Retrieved 2015-03-19.
- ^ Burl, Aubrey (2000). The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 210.
- ^ "Canmore: Stoneyhill". Retrieved 2015-03-19.
- ^ "Canmore Advanced Search: Stone Circle: Scottish Borders". Retrieved 2014-12-31.
- ^ Burl, Aubrey (2005). A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. p. 214.
- ^ "Canmore Advanced Search: Stone Circle: Shetland Islands". Retrieved 2015-01-12.
- ^ "Canmore: Fetlar, Gravins, Fidler's Crus". Retrieved 2015-01-12.