Scotlandís Aberdeenshire area is rich in recumbent stone circles with almost a hundred being recorded. The stone circles vary from 60 to 80 feet in diameter.
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These circles are different from the other known ones in that they have a huge slab laid on the side, which is always located in the south-west of the circle or in the southern arc of the ring.
On each side of the circle are two upright stones that are higher than the others in the circle. Experts think the recumbent stone and its neighbours were meant as a frame for viewing the rising and setting of the moon at certain times. The stone cirlces are also thought to be seasonal ritual centres or cremation burial sites.
Stone circles in the area under the care of Historic Scotland include:
Easter Aquhorthies, a 4000-year-old stone circle, is one mile (1.6km) west of Inverurie, Grampian, off the A96. Owned by Historic Scotland. A car park is nearby.
Loanhead Stone Circle, believed to be from 4000-5000 years old, is near Daviot, 5 miles (8km) northwest of Inverurie on a minor road off the A920/B9001. Owned Historic Scotland.
Tomnaverrie, a 4000-year-old stone circle, is located off the B9094, near Mill of Wester Coull, 3 miles (5km) northwest of Aboyne, Grampian. Owned by Historic Scotland. A car park is nearby.
Cullerlie Stone Circle (not recumbent but near Easter Aquhorthies) is near Garlogie, 12 miles (19.3km) west of Aberdeen on a minor road off the B9125. Owned by Historic Scotland. The 4000 year old circle is made up of 8 stones enclosing an area consecrated by fires on which eight small cairns were later built.