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East Aquhorthies, stone circle

A Scheduled Monument in Inverurie and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.277 / 57°16'37"N

Longitude: -2.4455 / 2°26'43"W

OS Eastings: 373233

OS Northings: 820797

OS Grid: NJ732207

Mapcode National: GBR X5.34L4

Mapcode Global: WH8NV.DCP6

Entry Name: East Aquhorthies, stone circle

Scheduled Date: 31 August 1925

Last Amended: 26 September 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90126

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone circle or ring

Location: Inverurie

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Inverurie and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a recumbent stone circle of prehistoric date. The monument was first scheduled in 1925, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this. East Aquhorthies (previously known as Easter Aquhorthies) stone circle is in the care of the Scottish Ministers.

The monument lies in arable farmland at around 175m OD, some 300m NW of East Aquhorthies. It comprises a circle of 11 erect stones, with a diameter of about 20m. The erect stones vary in height, ranging from about 1m to about 2.5m high. At the SW of the circle is a large recumbent stone, about 4m long. It is flanked closely by two upright stones which form part of the circle. The western flanker has four cup marks.

Immediately to the inside of the recumbent stone, set at right angles to the circumference of the circle, there are three further stone slabs. A slightly raised area at the centre of the stone circle indicates the probable presence of a central ring cairn. The stone wall around the perimeter of the stone circle is almost certainly a later feature, although it is shown on the OS First Edition map (dating from 1869-70).

Stone circles of this type are known as recumbent stone circles and have a distribution concentrated in Grampian. They are characteristic of the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (around 2000-1500 BC). Their exact function remains unclear, but they were undoubtedly used for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Recumbent stone circles often have a central ring cairn.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The area to be scheduled corresponds exactly to the area in the guardianship of Scottish Ministers. It has maximum dimensions of 26m NW to SE by 26m transversely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric ritual practices. The importance of the site is reflected in it being chosen as a property in care.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 72 SW 12.


Burl, H. A. W. (1973) 'The recumbent stone circles of North-East Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 102, 59, 60, 63, 64, 65, 78.

Coles, F. R. (1901) 'Report on the stone circles of the North-East of Scotland, Inverurie District, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship, with measured plans and drawings', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 35, 225-9, Fig. 35.

Shepherd, I. (1986) Exploring Scotland's Heritage, Grampian. HMSO. Edinburgh.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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