Loanhead of Daviot

Recumbent Stone Circle - Aberdeenshire

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NJ 74773 28846 (GPS 62min) Diameter 19.9m (meas.)
Visited Aug 1987/ July 1999 No magnetic anomalies

Because of its preservation and excellent presentation, Loanhead of Daviot is perhaps the "classic" surviving recumbent circle. The site is in state care, and all of the features of the classic Aberdeenshire recumbent can be seen in this easily accessible ring.
 Eight circle stones, the recumbent, and two flankers surround a 16.5m kerbed ring-cairn which has a 4m internal space, the whole being built on an artificially leveled site. The circle stones are height graded, and the western edge of the frost-fractured recumbent stone is aligned on the major southern moonset. The circle stone nearest to the eastern flanker has several cupmarks on its inner face, and its left edge has an alignment to the midwinter sunrise. Exacvation revealed that in common with sites such as Old Keig, a large fire of wood had been burned inside the ring before the construction of the ring cairn. Many finds were unearthed from the centre space of the ring-cairn, such as pottery shards, charcoal, flint scrapers and knives, and a large amount of cremated bone including skull fragments from fifty individuals between 2 and 4 years of age. It also appears that each of the circle stones had its own "mini-cairn" complete with charcoal and pot shards. Although there seems to be no carbon dating evidence, examination of pottery finds from the site suggest an age of no earlier than 3000BC for the circle. The enclosed cremation cemetery which adjoins the circle was probably built later than this as ritual practices changed, and the circle fell into disuse.


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