Cothiemuir Recumbent Stone Circle


The remains of the magnificent recumbent stone circle at Cothiemuir lie within the natural burial site close to Keig in Aberdeenshire. The circle itself is said to have been the site of funeral pyres and surrounds a low ring cairn.

The granite stones on the east side are smooth and rounded and rougher to the west.

Stones here have been shaped at their bases, like keels, to settle them into the earth.

The cup marks on the western extremity of the magnificent recumbent at Cothiemuir are said to be a fine example of them pointing to the position of the major standstill moon rises and sets.

The spectacular basalt recumbent is pale grey and its flankers are contrasting in pink although this is not clear in photographs because of the heavy covering of lichen on the stones.

This grey and pink arrangement recurs in the circle where the eastern orthostats are grey and the western ones, pink. The kerbstones were also alternating pink and grey.

As with all recumbent circles this one was built to have an open view to the south which allows tracking of the movements of the moon.

The huge 14 foot,20 ton recumbent is well-known for marks known as the Devil’s hoofprints on the recumbent.

The recumbent’s flankers are over 9 feet high.

Is the centre of the circle lies a capstone marking, actually or symbolically, an opening of a passage grave – or it may have been positioned there later. We don’t know.

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