Ancient Monuments

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Berrybrae, stone circle 470m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Peterhead North and Rattray, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.6045 / 57°36'16"N

Longitude: -1.9555 / 1°57'19"W

OS Eastings: 402759

OS Northings: 857162

OS Grid: NK027571

Mapcode National: GBR P8JM.GSK

Mapcode Global: WH9NN.X4Z5

Entry Name: Berrybrae, stone circle 470m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 31 August 1925

Last Amended: 26 September 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone circle or ring

Location: Lonmay

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Peterhead North and Rattray

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a stone circle of prehistoric date, visible as a series of upstanding and prostrate stones. The monument was last scheduled in 1961; it is being rescheduled in order to clarify the extent of the scheduled area. Stone settings of this type are characteristic of the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

The monument is situated on a low artificial platform of clay at an altitude of c.40m OD. It comprises an incomplete recumbent stone circle. Only five stones remain, including the recumbent stone, two massive stone blocks in situ (one of them the W pillar), and two prostrate and broken stones (one of them the E pillar). The stones are set in an oval bank. The interior of the stone circle is lower than the natural ground surface.

Partial excavation of the site in 1976 revealed two main phases of activity. The first phase comprised the construction of the low bank of stones, c.2m wide, which enclosed a roughly circular area, c.12.5m NW-SE by 10.5m transversely. The bank comprised heavy boulders along its SW arc. A recumbent stone of local granite and nine standing stones were erected around the bank's perimeter. A ring cairn was constructed in the central space and three cremations were placed within it. Quartz fragments were scattered near the recumbent stone.

The second phase comprised the destruction of the stone circle, with the exception of the recumbent stone and its huge W flanker. The remaining standing stones were truncated and the ring cairn levelled. The stone-stumps were integrated into a stone wall piled over the former bank, transforming the site into an enclosed cremation cemetery. Charcoal associated with a beaker vessel from this phase yielded radiocarbon dates of around 1500 BC. The bank was reconstructed after excavation in 1976.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is circular in shape, with a diameter of 35m centred on the stone circle, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric ritual and funerary practices. Its importance is increased because there are at least two major phases of activity on this site, and by its proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NK05NW2.


Burl, H. A. W. (1973) 'The recumbent stone circles of North 'East Scotland' , Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 102, 1969-70, 60, 65, 78.

Burl, H. A. W. (1975) 'Buchan, recumbent stone circles', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1975, 7.

Burl, H. A. W. (1976) 'The stone circles of the British Isles, London and New Haven, 178, 184-6, 350.

Burl, H. A. W. (1976 b) 'Buchan, Berrybrae recumbent stone circle', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1976, 6.

Burl, H. A. W. (1977) 'Berrybrae, recumbent stone circle', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1977, 4-5.

Burl, H. A. W. (1978) 'Berrybrae, recumbent stone circle', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1978, 7.

Burl, H. A. W. (1979) Rings of stone: the prehistoric stone circles of Britain and Ireland, London, 25-39, 55, 57, 124-125.

Coles, F. R. (1904) 'Report on the stone circles of the North-East of Scotland- the Buchan District 'with measured plans and drawings, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship' Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 38, 1903-4, 288-90.

Shepherd, I. A. G. (1986) Powerful pots: beakers in north east prehistory, Aberdeen, 34.

Shepherd, I. A. G. and Ralston, I. B. M. (1979) Early Grampian: a guide to the archaeology, Aberdeen, 13.

Trans Buchan Fld. Club (1890) 'Excursion to Loch Strathbeg and vicinity, Saturday, 4th August 1888', Trans Buchan Fld. Club, 1887-90, 82.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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