So far in our trip, we’ve seen a number of castles and manors. It’s intriguing how many there are, and how many are open to the public even though some are still private residences. Some of the people who live in them are descendants of the families that had them built.
But the historical significance, beautiful structures, and splendid gardens aren’t enough to persuade us to spend any more time during this vacation on visiting additional castles. It isn’t so much that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. They’re all different and have different stories and histories. It’s just that there are so many of them, and we want to see other things as well.
So we crossed off the other castles on our list and decided instead to go exploring some of the nearby stone circles. Stonehenge is probably the best known stone circle in the UK, but it’s far from the only one. Some of them, including some of the ones in Scotland, date back thousands of years.
It is interesting, though, that for the most part stone circles are only found in Great Britain and Ireland, mostly in the highlands though there are some in the lowlands as well, like Stonehenge. Archaeologists have found evidence of other types of stone installments in places like Brittany, part of France that geographically isn’t far from Great Britain, but for the most part stone circles are only found in the British Isles.
The ancient people who lived here set up hundreds of stone circles, barrows, and mounds. They’re fascinating to look at and visit, and to speculate about since there’s no real way to know what their original purposes were. Archaeologists have made some guesses, but they don’t have any definitive evidence, just like with Stonehenge. All they can do is put together clues and hope they come somewhere close to the truth.
Some of the stone circles, like Stonehenge, were originally all or partly circles of timber, not stone. The stones were put into place over time. There might have been a lot more timber circles than stone; archaeologists think that some of the timber circles rotted or were plowed over before stones were added.
Maps and other materials are available to people who want to explore the stone circles in Scotland. Amy and I found a guide and went to see some of the smaller circles. Many were oddly juxtaposed to houses, farms, or pasture land.
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