Concentric stone circle

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Concentric stone circles ( English Multiple Stone Circle ) are prehistoric constructions made of two, in individual cases three ( Shapbeck plantation in Cumbria ) or four ( Yellowmead Down , Devon ), interlocking rings of large stones. They are known in limited numbers from the British Isles , but are also found in the Crimea . The circles were established from the late Neolithic to the Bronze Age . The majority probably date to the Early Bronze Age. The individual rings were usually created successively. The circles themselves likely served a similar function as the simple stone circles and the Recumbent Stone Circle (RSC).


Research history

Descriptions of this type of circle have been known since the 16th century. In his 1976 list, Aubrey Burl created the subdivision of concentric circles, which John W. Barnatt did not take up in his most recent publication (1987). Excavations have taken place at Avebury , Stonehenge and The Sanctuary (all in Wiltshire ) and at Druid's Circle near Ulverston , Cumbria .


The diameter of the outer rings varies between 20 and 330 meters. The circles are only rarely formed from 20 to 97 stones arranged according to height. The stones, which are often small but also up to four meters high, are now often overturned on the ground. They occur in the context of rows of stones , menhirs or walls (Park Gate). Inside is u. U. a central menhir, or graves under a stone or earth mound . The stones of the inner rings are always smaller, their number is always less than in the outer ring. A typical representative of the genus is "The Sanctuary" in Wiltshire.


England's 15 concentric systems that have survived are concentrated in Cumbria, Derbyshire and Wiltshire. In Dartmoor , Devon, North Yorkshire and Somerset there is only one (preserved) object. Individual examples can be found in Scotland , the Hebrides and western Ireland . Burl defined four basic types from this small number. Since he also included unique structures such as Park Gate, Stonehenge and "The Sanctuary" in the classification, the experts largely did not follow him.

The diameter of the outer ring varies between 19.8 and 103.6 m. That of the inner ring between 7.4 m and 42.7 m. At Avebury, the stones are 3.4 to 4.0 m high. The northern circle in Avebury has 34 stones.

  • B: The Sanctuary, a regular double circle system with an outer diameter of 39.5 m
  • C: Double circle enclosures surrounded by a wall; Park Gate in Derbyshire. The outer ring measures 21.3 m in diameter, and the inner 13.7 m.
  • D: rare concentric systems with three and four rings. Shapbeck Plantation in Cumbria is a triple concentric circle. Yellowmead Down in Dartmoor is the only one with four rings.

Apart from concentricity, there are no obvious similarities between all circles.


  • John Barnatt: The design and distribution of stone circles in Britain. A reflection of variation in social organization in the second and third millennia BC . 3 volumes. University of Sheffield, Sheffield 1987 (Thesis).
  • Aubrey Burl: The Stone Circles of the British Isles . Yale University Press, New Haven CT 1976, ISBN 0-300-01972-6 .

Individual evidence


Web links