Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Westerton of Petmathen, standing stone 395m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3276 / 57°19'39"N

Longitude: -2.5588 / 2°33'31"W

OS Eastings: 366450

OS Northings: 826474

OS Grid: NJ664264

Mapcode National: GBR N91C.2HY

Mapcode Global: WH8NL.N2QY

Entry Name: Westerton of Petmathen, standing stone 395m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 9 November 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12103

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Oyne

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a single, large standing stone of likely late Neolithic or early Bronze-Age date. The stone occupies a position approximately 163m above sea level on a gentle south-east-facing slope, in an area of grassland currently used for grazing.

The earthfast whinstone measures 1.8m square in section and around 2.7m in height, with a maximum girth of 6m. The stone is roughly square in plan, and the faces of the stone are aligned north-south and east-west.

The area to be scheduled is a circle centred on the centre of the stone, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use is likely to survive, 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

This is a prominent standing stone that apparently still stands where it was erected in prehistory. Buried deposits are likely to survive in the immediate area. Such deposits may give us valuable information about the purpose of the monument, the people who created and used it, the methods used in its creation, dating evidence for its erection, and for any later activity associated with the stone.

Contextual characteristics.

The monument is a good representative of a widespread class. It has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of standing stones, particularly those of the Strathdon area. This example is one of an extensive number in Strathdon, where there has been a long tradition of the erection of standing stones and related monuments, such as stone circles and burial cairns. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has noted that the distribution of lone standing stones largely reflects the distribution of burial cairns, suggesting a link between the two. This not only suggests a preference for settlement in the area in prehistory, but also provides us with an extremely important opportunity to assess the distribution and relationships of such sites.

Due to the near-absence of evidence for settlement sites from the Neolithic or early Bronze Age in the Strathdon area, standing stones such as this are one of the main archaeological sources for an understanding of the period and its socio-economic structure. The position of such monuments in the landscape is an apparently important factor in their location, as is their connection to other similar monuments. This particular example stands in the high valley between the summits of Candle Hill and Parnassus, and has commanding views to the south and west, in particular the summit of Bennachie to the south. Comparing and contrasting this monument with other examples of its type can give us valuable information on how and why the Neolithic and Bronze-Age peoples of the area placed such monuments in the landscape. This can help us understand Neolithic and Bronze-Age ritual monuments throughout Scotland, as well as in the Strathdon region.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to the understanding of the past, in particular Neolithic and Bronze-Age standing stones and the part they played in ritual beliefs and practices. Spatial analysis of this and other contemporary monuments may reveal valuable information on the layout and patterns of Neolithic and Bronze-Age ritual sites within the landscape. The loss of the monument would impede our understanding of the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the nature and purpose of their erection and use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NJ62NE 6. It is recorded in the Aberdeenshire SMR as NJ62NE0006.


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, 533-5.

RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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