The Standing Stones

BrodgarStanding stones, or menhir which was the name adopted from the celtic language Breton spoken in Brittany which translates to “long stone”, are upright stones dating back to the Mesolithic period. Standing stones can be found across Europe, Africa and Asia, but are predominantly located in Ireland, Great Britain and Brittany. The stones can vary dramatically in size, however, they are often similar in shape. They are usually uneven and squared, often narrowing towards the top of the stone.  The stones can be found individually or in groups. When found in groups, they appear in a circular, oval, henge or horseshoe shape and are often known as megalithic monuments. These monuments are believed to be sites of ancient religious ceremonies, often contain burial chambers.


A henge is a Neolithic ring bank with an internal ditch surrounding a central flat Brodgararea. Henges are not believed to have been used as defensive structures or occupation, but they often feature ritual structures such as stone or timber circles, burial mounds and pits. The Ring of Brodgar is an example of a stone henge and is one of the three largest such henges in Britain.