Region : Orkney Home
Island : Mainland Map
Town or village : Stenness List
Grid Reference : HY 294 133 Glossary
Period : 3rd millennium BC Bibliography
Ring of Brodgar

Ring of Brodgar image

This outstanding ceremonial site is Scotland's largest stone circle and the third largest in Western Europe (after the two English rings of Avebury and Stanton Drew). The circle, 103.6m in diameter, is situated on a platform 113m across. It is enclosed by a rock-cut ditch, originally up to 3m deep and 9m across, with two entrance causeways one to the north-west and one to the south-east. There is no trace of an outer bank.
The circle was formed by 60 sandstone slabs: 36 survive, 27 of which are still standing. The slabs vary in shape and range between 2m to 4.5m in height. Some have been damaged by the weather (one was struck by lightning on the 5th June 1980).
One of the stones (the third one to the north of the entrance) is decorated with much later incriptions: a cross and five Norse runes.
Around the site many small Bronze Age cairns are visible, while 137m to the east is a standing stone known as the Comet Stone. The site is not far from other two smaller henge monuments, the Ring of Bookan to the north and the Stones of Stenness to the south.
The interior of the circle has not been excavated.
About the site's astronomical associations Alexander Thom wrote: "The Brogar site is the most perfect example of a megalithic lunar observatory that we have left in Britain".
In care of Historic Scotland