Books : reviews

Colin Richards.
Building the Great Stone Circles of the North.
Windgather Press. 2013

Of all prehistoric monuments, few are more emotive than the great stone circles that were built throughout Britain and Ireland. From the tall, elegant, pointed monoliths of the Stones of Stenness to the grandeur of Stonehenge and the sarsen blocks at Avebury, circles of stone exert a magnetic fascination to those who venture into their sphere. In Britain today, more people visit these structures than any other form of prehistoric monument and visitors stand in awe at their scale and question how and why they were erected. Building the Great Stone Circles of the North looks at the enigmatic stone structures of Scotland and investigates the background of their construction and their cultural significance. Beginning with a consideration of how the stone structures of Western Scotland can be interpreted, the volume looks in detail at the context of the circles and cairns from Orkney and the Outer Hebrides – from quarrying the raw material to their symbolic role within the landscape – before widening out into a consideration of the societies who built and used them and the myth and folklore that is now embedded within these megaliths.