East Aquhorthies Stone Circle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Such stone circles may have been used for lunar observation, but it seems quite possible they also served a religious purpose. The name 'East Aquhorthies' may come from Gaelic words meaning 'field of prayer', suggesting that the people of the area carried on a habit of ritual observance here. For a long time the site was known as 'Easter Aquhorthies' but 'East' is more commonly used today.
The large flanking stones stand 2.25 metres high, and the stones diminish in size away from the recumbent stone, so that the stone opposite the recumbent is the smallest, at 1.7 metres high. There are 11 upright stones on a low earthen bank.
Behind the recumbent stone are two smaller stones at right angles. It is possible that recumbent circles represent earlier chambered tombs, and the right angled stones behind the recumbent stone are meant to symbolise the entrance to the burial chamber.
One of the interesting features at Aquhorthies is that the stones are of different materials; the circle stones are of porphyry, a delicate pink colour. One exception to this is the stone next to the east flanking stone, which is of red jasper. The flanking stones are of grey granite, while the large recumbent stone is of red granite brought from Bennachie.
Why the different materials? We can only speculate, but whatever the particular properties of the different stones, they must have been chosen for a reason.
There may have been a circle cairn within the circle at one time, but no evidence of this now exists.
The one peculiar aspect of the circle is that it is raised on a low bank, bounded by a dry stone wall. This bank was added at some unknown date and was not part of the original circle. The information sign erected by the local council makes the intriguing claim that 'the circle has been shown to have acoustic properties', but no details as are given as to what those properties might be!
Visiting East Aquhorthies
There is a small parking area at the base of the hill, and a short walk of about 400 yards uphill to the site. The going is pretty easy and should take no more than about 5 minutes.
About East Aquhorthies Stone Circle
Address: Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Attraction Type: Prehistoric Site
Location: 1 m (1.6 km) W Inverurie, signposted off the A96 on a minor road.
Website: East Aquhorthies Stone Circle
Phone: 01667 460 232
OS: NJ732 207
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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