Rothiemay Stone Circle:Star Charts and Atlantis

Rothiemay Stone Circle

The recumbent stone circle at Rothiemay in Banffshire is easily accessible thanks to a very accommodating farmer. And it is signposted.

This grey igneous circle is incomplete however, having been disturbed in the early 19th century forty years before the introduction of preservation orders through the Ancient Monuments Act (1882) and the whole saved from complete destruction by the landowner. Thankfully the recumbent is still there along with four uprights.

It has been proposed that originally there were two concentric circles: outer and inner. The circle, as is, points to an asymmetrical shape with the recumbent’s position creating this irregularity.

This Rothiemay circle is one of the most important in the northeast for its cup marks; they are numerous – in excess of 100, some ringed – on the recumbent and especially grouped at the point of the rising or setting major standstill moon and the are some of the largest found. The clustered cup marks on this recumbent have been linked to star patterns. Other cup marks are documented on the stone to the east of the recumbent.

The recumbent measures 4 metres long by almost 2 metres high and faces the SW to capture the southern full moon at the major standstill.

The recumbent weighs around 20 tons.

The orthostats are around 2m proud of the ground.

The circle looks larger than many others I’ve seen: around 33 metres. This may be due to it being a concentric circle like Auchquhorthies.

Some believe that recumbent stones were worked to mirror or frame, by its flankers, the hills lying off on the horizon. Rothiemay’s recumbent is thought to be one such example looking as it does towards Hillhead of Avochie (‘v’ is not usually pronounced in Scotland in place names derived from the Gaelic [pronounced Gaallic as opposed to Irish Gaylic]).

There is a tenuous link with Rothiemay recumbent stone circle and John Foster Forbes who had been born at Rothiemay Castle and who propounded some strange ideas. Far from being Bronze Age constructions he imagined they dated to around 8000 BC when priests migrated to these islands from the lost city of Atlantis.

Preoccupation with the occult was strong in the 1930s. Some Nazis used occultism to try to prove the existence of a superior Nordic race originating from the North Pole. Forbes was influenced by psychometrics and his eccentric  explanations about stone circles come through association with the psychic Iris Campbell. This once military intelligence officer, Forbes also linked ancient sites such as stone circles to the return of extraterrestrials and was prominent in the upsurge of interest in UFOs in Britain after WWII.

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