Ancient Monuments

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Deer Park, stone circle 65m north of

A Scheduled Monument in Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.2304 / 57°13'49"N

Longitude: -2.526 / 2°31'33"W

OS Eastings: 368339

OS Northings: 815644

OS Grid: NJ683156

Mapcode National: GBR X1.F434

Mapcode Global: WH8P0.5JDF

Entry Name: Deer Park, stone circle 65m N of

Scheduled Date: 13 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12008

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone circle or ring

Location: Monymusk

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a stone circle of late-Neolithic or Bronze-Age date, visible as three standing stones set at the edges of a low mound. It is situated immediately north of a small burn at about 100m above sea level, in an area of sparse mature woodland at the edge of an arable field.

Known locally as 'The Druids', the stones are all granite, each measuring about 1.2m in height. They stand in a triangular arrangement. The southernmost stone stands at the S edge of the mound. The westernmost stone stands approximately 3m to the NW of the first, at the SW edge of the mound. The easternmost stone, which stands about 3m to the NE of the first, is set about 1.5m inside the SE edge of the mound. The mound itself rises to about 0.3m in height and measures about 9m N-S by 6m transversely. A small earthfast stone near the centre of the mound suggests that the monument may originally have included more stones. Local tradition states that some stones in the circle were washed away during a freak flood of the Gullie Burn in the 1830s, caused by the Clyan's Dam bursting its banks. However, the number of stones that may have stood in the circle and since been lost is impossible to estimate.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a well-preserved example of a stone circle, likely to date to the 3rd millennium BC. Given its location among mature trees, the monument has not been subject to any damaging recent agricultural activities and it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the construction and use of the stone circle survive. Such deposits may give us valuable information about the purpose of the monument, the people who created and used it, their religious beliefs, the methods used to create it, and provide dating evidence for its erection and for any later activity associated with the stone circle. In addition, it is likely that deposits survive that could provide data relating to the prehistoric environment within which the circle was constructed and used.

Contextual characteristics

The monument lies in a part of Scotland that is characterised by its density of recumbent stone circles (stone circles that incorporate in their SW arc a single prostrate stone known as a recumbent, flanked by two upright stones). As a non-recumbent stone circle, this monument is an important component of a diverse group of stone circles in NE Scotland. It is likely to have been an intrinsic part of the late-Neolithic and Bronze-Age landscape and can be compared and contrasted with nearby stone circles and others outside the region to create an understanding of regional identity and society during this period. The study of this monument with other examples in the wider area can also give us valuable information on how and why Neolithic and Bronze-Age peoples of the area placed such monuments in the landscape.

Associative characteristics

The stone circle, which is known to some locals as The Druids, has an association with a freak flood of the Gullie Burn in the 1830s, caused by the Clyan's Dam bursting its banks. Local tradition states that some stones in the circle were washed away during this flood.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the religious and ritual practices of late-Neolithic and Bronze-Age peoples in Scotland. Its relatively good preservation, form and known period of use enhance this potential, as does the fact that it lies within a wider landscape of monuments that are likely to be related. The loss of this example would impede our ability to understand the Neolithic and Bronze Age both in Aberdeenshire and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Neolithic and Bronze-Age social structure and religion.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ61NE 1. Aberdeenshire Council SMR records the monument as NJ61NE0001.


Anon. undated, 'HISTORY: ANCIENT MONUMENTS' [copyright Monymusk Estate, accessed 4 August 2007].

Burl A 1976, THE STONE CIRCLES OF THE BRITISH ISLES, London and New Haven, 351.

Coles F R 1901, 'Report on the stone circles of the north-east of Scotland, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship, with measured plans and drawings' PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 35, 201-3.

Keiller A 1934, MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS OF NORTH-EAST SCOTLAND, Morven Institute of Archaeological Research, 3, 5.

RCAHMS [Draft], IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Thom A, Thom A S and Burl A 1980, MEGALITHIC RINGS: PLANS AND DATA FOR 229 MONUMENTS IN BRITAIN, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser 81, Oxford, 212-13.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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