Ancient Monuments

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Yonder Bognie stone circle, 215m NNE of Wardend

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

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Latitude: 57.5004 / 57°30'1"N

Longitude: -2.668 / 2°40'4"W

OS Eastings: 360062

OS Northings: 845775

OS Grid: NJ600457

Mapcode National: GBR M8SW.SKV

Mapcode Global: WH7LF.ZQNZ

Entry Name: Yonder Bognie stone circle, 215m NNE of Wardend

Scheduled Date: 17 August 1925

Last Amended: 3 May 2022

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM56

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone circle or ring

Location: Forgue

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a recumbent stone circle dating to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age period. It survives as an oval ring of stones, originally comprising the recumbent setting and at least nine other standing stones. Nine of the stones remain, with three now lying flat. The recumbent setting is intact although one of the flanking stones has fallen. The interior is likely to have contained cairn material but is now featureless save for field clearance stones. The monument is located on gently sloping east facing ground on a low rise to the west and above the Burn of Forgue at around 115m above sea level.

The stone circle is roughly oval on plan, measuring about 22m from east to west by 18m transversely.  Originally it comprised the recumbent setting and up to nine standing stones; three of these now lie flat. The recumbent block, which is on the south side of the monument, measures 3.35m in length by up to 1.7m in height.  Of the two flankers, only the western, taller stone, remains upright, standing about 1.95m in height. The base of the west flanking stone is set at a slight angle to pick up the arc of the circle. The tallest of the other stones is on the southeast and the shortest on the north northwest suggesting that the stones were graded to reduce in height from south to north; and it is likely that the spacing of the stones decreased too. The interior is likely to have contained a cairn, but it is now featureless, with heaps of field-cleared stones.

The scheduled area is circular, measuring 45m in diameter. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17): 

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past or has the potential to do so as a recumbent stone circle, one of only 80 or so known in Scotland. 

b.   The monument retains structural attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past as a recumbent stone circle of the late Neolithic to early Bronze Age period. Study of the form, layout and construction techniques has the potential to increase our understanding of this monument and other similar monuments. 

d.   The monument is a particularly good example of a recumbent stone circle, retaining many original features and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past in particular prehistoric religious practice, the chronological development of religious monuments and wider changes in society between Neolithic and Bronze Age communities.

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to or our understanding of the historic landscape as recumbent stone circle which would have been part of a wider domestic and ritual landscape. Recumbent stone circles are a distinctive form of monument unique to northeast Scotland. Study of this monument in relationship to the other monuments of a similar date in the area can enhance our understanding of these monuments within the historic landscape.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument is an upstanding and well-preserved recumbent stone circle located on a gentle east facing slope dropping down from the crest of a minor rise. Although the stone circle has lost several of its orthostats (standing stones) and others have fallen, it survives as a substantial monument close to its original scale and appearance. The circle was oval on plan and originally comprised the recumbent setting (the recumbent stone and two flankers) and up to nine orthostats. Nine stones now remain, and three of these are lying flat. However, the form of the monument is clear and there remains indications that the standing stones were graded to reduce in height from south to north, a feature seen at other recumbent stone circles.

Excavations at Tomnaverie stone circle (Bradley and Philip 2005) have demonstrated that this type of monument often has a complex development sequence (scheduled monument SM90303). There the site was first used for cremation pyres, which gradually built up into a low mound of cremation remains. This mound was then incorporated into a polygonal cairn, open at the centre and within a well-defined kerb. At a later date the stones of the circle were erected. At Yonder Bognie although the interior it is now featureless, there is an account of an excavation in the 19th century which suggested there was an inner ring with a pavement of stones under which an "urn" and bone were found indicating an extended development sequence (Simpson 1861: 448). 

This type of monument can include structural features such as a platform, cairn and burials within and around the circle. There is the potential for the survival of evidence for the form, function, development and use of this funerary and ritual site over time, as well as environmental evidence that will aid the reconstruction of what the local area looked like when the monument was built. 

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

This is one of a relatively rare, geographically confined and carefully positioned group of prehistoric ritual monuments. Recumbent stone circles are a distinctive form of monument unique to northeast Scotland: less than 80 are known and all but four are located within Aberdeenshire. We know that early prehistoric farmers increasingly settled this area and the number of these recumbent stone circles signals the spread of ritual sites along the valley of the River Deveron from around the middle of the third millennium BC onwards.

While the distribution of these monuments is confined to northeast Scotland, they share several physical characteristics with other forms of stone circles and related cairns (such as the tight group of Clava cairns to the west and the wider distribution of stone circles across the remainder of Scotland). Although the origin of this monument type is unclear some researchers suggest that it is strongly linked to ring cairns and Clava cairns as an expression of local ritual tradition at monuments that may share similar structural elements: an outer stone circle (size-graded stones being deliberately positioned to accentuate a particular arc), a cairn, a platform, radial divisions or spreads and the artefactual remains of various activities. What makes the recumbent forms unique is their use of a horizontally lain stone within the south arc of the circle. It has been suggested that this feature is connected to specific lunar or solar alignments and events, the framing of specific views to and from the monument, while other researchers think that the erection of the circle with its recumbent marked the end (or closure) of a particular episode of use for the monument. The significance of individual examples of this monument type increases because researchers think they were often built, reused and adapted with common elements (such as cairns, stone circles and platforms) but in a different sequence or with variations in design and layout.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this monuments national importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 18335 (accessed on 23/02/2022).

Aberdeenshire HER/SMR Reference NJ64NW0010 (accessed on 23/02/2022).

Bradley, R. and Phillips, T. (2005). Excavations at Tomnaverie Stone Circle. In: Bradley, R. (ed.) The Moon and the Bonfire. An investigation of three stone circles in north-east Scotland. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, pp. 9-51.

Burl, H. A. W. (1970). The recumbent stone circles of north-east Scotland. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 102, pp.56-81. Accessed online at The recumbent stone circles of north-east Scotland | Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (

Coles, F. (1903). "Report on the Stone Circles of North-Eastern Scotland, chiefly in Auchterless and Forgue, with measured Plans and Drawings, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship" in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 37, pp. 82-142. Accessed online at Report on the Stone Circles of North-Eastern Scotland, chiefly in Auchterless and Forgue, with measured Plans and Drawings, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship | Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (

Simpson, J. (1861). "Stone Circles near Shap, Westmoreland" in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 4, pp. 443-449. Accessed online at Stone Circles near Shap, Westmoreland | Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (

Welfare, A. (2011). Great Crowns of Stone: The Recumbent Stone Circles of Scotland. Edinburgh. pp. 488-90.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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