Britain’s ancient history is all about the unique burial chambers, standing stones, and Neolithic stone circles. There’s just something so mysterious and intriguing about them. When were those prehistoric monuments built, and why? Nobody knows for certain.
Here are 12 most mysterious ancient sites of Britain:
1. Stonehenge (Amesbury, Wiltshire)
Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument.
2. Stanton Drew Circles & Cove (Stanton Drew, Somerset)
These are 3 wonderful but little-known stone circles. The Great Circle, the largest, i.e. 113m in diameter, is the second largest in Britain. The Hautville’s Quoit, a standing stone sits across the River Chew, and a cove of 3 stones sits in the village pub garden.
3. Rollright stones (Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire)
The Rollright Stones complex, apparently a king and his courtiers hardened by a witch, contains 3 groups: the Whispering Knights dolmen, the King’s Men stone circle, and the single King Stone. All 3 are erected at individual times more than a 2000-year period.
4. The heart of Neolithic Orkney (Orkney, Scotland)
A few of Orkney’s sites are over 5000 years old, anticipating Stonehenge. 2 stone circles are found – the Ring of Brodgar and the standing stones of Stennes – and a 5000-year ancient village of houses with stone-made furniture, named Skara Brae.
5. Callanish standing stones (Isle of Lewis, Scotland)
Going back to around 3000 BC, the Callanish stones combine one of the most exclusive prehistoric stone monuments in Scotland. More than 40 stones, building the Celtic cross’ shape, are located on a famous ridge ignoring a sea bay. Its key purpose isn’t known, but it seems to be connected with astronomical events.
6. Kilmartin Glen (Kintyre, Argyll, Scotland)
With a unique concentration of around 350 old monuments, incorporating attractive standing stones, dolmens, rock carvings, Kilmartin Glen is the premier prehistoric site of mainland Scotland.
7. Long Meg & her daughters (Penrith, Cumbria)
Since the Bronze Age, this is England’s one of the largest ancient stone circles. 59 standing stone daughters are there; Long Meg is a 3.6m-high stone monument of red sandstone toward the south-west of the circle. There are numerous different circles, stones, and tombs in the encompassing area.
8. Castlerigg stone circle (Keswick, Cumbria)
Going back to around 3000 BC, the circle of 38 volcanic stones of the Lake District is among the most ancient in Britain. Its magnificent dramatic setting features wonderful astronomical alignments.
9. Grime’s graves (Thetford, Norfolk)
Going back to 3000 BC, this large flint mining complex contains nearly 433 shafts deplete the natural chalk for reaching flint’s seams.
10. Pentre Ifan burial chamber (Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales)
Dating back to around 3500 BC, Pentre Ifan is one of the most wonderful Neolithic dolmens in Europe. It comprises of a big tilted capstone settled on 3 slender upright stones.
11. Merry Maidens Circle (between Newlyn and Land’s End, Cornwall)
Possibly the UK’s best-preserved late Neolithic site, the Merry Maidens Circle comprises of 19 granite stones which create an ideal circle almost 23m in diameter.
12. Avebury (Avebury, Wiltshire)
Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest stone circle in Europe.
featured image © Martyn Gorman