Auchagallon Stone Circle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Bronze Age circle or kerb cairn?
Not as well known to most visitors to Arran as the more famous standing stones at Machrie Moor to the south, Auchagallon is every bit as fascinating and intriguing. The stones are located near the junction of the Shore Road and the Brodick road, just north of the golf course at Machrie. The location is wonderful, with views out over a sloping hill towards Machrie Bay.
Auchagallon consists of 15 upright stones surrounding a mound. All but two of the stones are red sandstone, but the other pair are grey granite. It is a mystery why the two stones are of a different material; one obvious suggestion is that these stones were somehow special or signified something important.
Exactly what sort of monument Auchagallon is, is also a subject for debate. Though it is usually called a stone circle, it may equally be a kerbed cairn. The standing stones surround a central mound, or cairn. In the Victorian period, the central cairn was excavated and a burial cist unearthed.
Unfortunately, the 19th-century archaeologists did not record what, if anything, was found within the cist. The most likely date for the circle is the Bronze Age, between 2000 and 1200 BC. If this date is accurate it is likely that the cist contained a body in a crouched position, with pottery vessels and flint tools beside the body.
If Auchagallon is a kerb cairn then it is possible that the burial mound was placed within an already existing stone circle, similar to the cairn at Moss Farm Road to the south. Think of it as Bronze Age recycling; why build a whole new kerb cairn when you can just put a new burial cist inside an existing stone circle and cover the cist with a mound?
Though Historic Scotland describes Auchagalon as a burial mound encircled by kerb stones, there is another theory that suggests the 'burial mound' at the centre of the circle is nothing more than a rubble heap of stones and debris piled within the circle of stones by local farmers clearing their fields. What would archaeology be without a bit of controversy?
I'm no expert so there's no way I could tell which version of the mound is correct, but the site was interesting, the view fantastic, and the proximity to the numerous sites on Machrie Moor makes Auchagallon an interesting site to visit.
About Auchagallon Stone Circle
Address: Machrie, Isle of Arran, Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland
Attraction Type: Prehistoric Site
Location: Just off the A841. Easy access on foot, just north of the golf course at the junction of the A841 and the minor road towards Brodick.
Website: Auchagallon Stone Circle
OS: NR893 346
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Auchencar Druid Standing Stone - 1.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Moss Farm Road Stone Circle - 1.3 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Machrie Moor Standing Stones - 1.7 miles (Prehistoric Site)
King's Cave - 2.3 miles (Countryside)
The Doon Iron Age Hillfort - 3.4 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Kilpatrick Dun - 5.3 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Glen Rosa Waterfall Walk - 6.1 miles (Countryside)
Carradale Network Heritage Centre - 6.2 miles (Museum)
Nearest Holiday Cottages to Auchagallon Stone Circle:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Auchagallon Stone Circle. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.