Ancient Monuments

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Candle Stane, stone circle 380m east of Coldhome

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3585 / 57°21'30"N

Longitude: -2.6679 / 2°40'4"W

OS Eastings: 359912

OS Northings: 829972

OS Grid: NJ599299

Mapcode National: GBR M9S8.DJF

Mapcode Global: WH7M6.Z9QS

Entry Name: Candle Stane, stone circle 380m E of Coldhome

Scheduled Date: 17 August 1925

Last Amended: 20 June 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone circle or ring

Location: Insch

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a recumbent stone circle, surrounding a well-defined central cairn, visible as a series of upstanding and prostrate stones. The monument was last scheduled in 1970. It is being rescheduled in order to clarify the extent of the scheduled area. Stone settings of this type are characteristic of the Neolithic (Stone Age).

The monument is situated within a small enclosure on the summit of Candle Hill, at an altitude of c.267m OD. It lies immediately E of an abandoned quarry. Recent quarrying to the E of the site exposed a section which revealed post-holes with charcoal-stained fills. Between this section and the stone circle, an area had been stripped of topsoil in advance of further quarrying.

The recumbent stone circle measures c.14m in diameter. It surrounds a well-defined central cairn, measuring c.8.5m in diameter by 1m high. The stone circle originally consisted of eight upright stones, one of which has now gone. Only one stone is still standing, named the Candle Stane, which is 1.4m high. The recumbent stone measures c.4.2m long by 2m broad by 0.5m thick, and is situated on the southern arc of the circle, flanked between two fallen flanker stones. The western flanker is c.2.75m long and the eastern flanker c.2m long. The other stones vary from 1.8m to 2.65m long. All of the stones, except the Candle Stane, have been displaced. There are two possible cup marks on the eastern flanker and two further indistinct examples on the westernmost stone.

Excavations undertaken to the SW of the recumbent stone circle revealed the remains of a large circular timber structure, less than half of which survived because the area had suffered extensive damage from quarrying. A series of eight evenly spaced post-holes was identified within the circular groove, and an arc of six further post-holes was interpreted as part of a former inner ring. A complex entrance structure was present on the SE arc. Charcoal from the post-holes was radiocarbon dated to the first millennium BC. Internal features included a large stone-filled pit and a suite of stake-holes located towards the centre of the structure. No artefacts were recovered.

This juxtaposition of a recumbent stone circle with timber structures indicates the re-use of an earlier (ritual) site by later settlement.

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 c.55m N-S by 31m E-W, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The area is bounded by a field wall to the E and a quarry wall to the W, both of which are excluded from the scheduling.

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 practices. Its importance is increased by its proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in RCAHMS as NNJ 52 NE 10.


Burl, H. A. W. (1973) 'The recumbent stone circles of North'East Scotland', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 102, 1969'70, 60, 69, 76, 78.

Burl, H. A. W. (1976) The stone circles of the British Isles, London and New Haven, 179, 350.

Cameron, K. (1996) 'Candle Stane, Insch (Insch parish), stone circle, cairn', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1996, 8.

Cameron, K. (1999) 'Excavation of an Iron Age timber structure beside the Candle Stane recumbent stone circle, Aberdeenshire', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 129, 1, 1999, 359'72.

Cameron, K. (1997) 'Candle Stane, Insch (Insch parish), round house', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland , 1997, 9'10.

Coles, F. R. (1902) 'Report on stone circles in Aberdeenshire (Inverurie, Eastern Parishes, and Insch Districts), with measured plans and drawings, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 36, 1901-2, 540'545.

Keiller, A. (1934) Megalithic monuments of north'east Scotland, London, 13.

Name Book (County) Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey Book No. 41, 38.

Ritchie, J. (1917) 'Notes on some stone circles in central Aberdeenshire', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 51, 1916'17, 34.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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