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Rothiemay

Recumbent Stone Circle (Neol/bronze Age)

Site Name Rothiemay

Classification Recumbent Stone Circle (Neol/bronze Age)

Alternative Name(s) Rothiemay Castle; Milltown Of Rothiemay

Canmore ID 17820

Site Number NJ54NE 6

NGR NJ 5508 4872

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/17820

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Rothiemay
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Banffshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ54NE 6 5508 4872.

(NJ 5508 4872) Stone Circle (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959)

Remains of a recumbent stone circle. Some of the standing stones were removed about 1845, and two were dumped near the field gateway (Ritchie 1918). Four stones (about 6" high each) and the recumbent stone survived.

Coles (1903) estimates that there were originally 12 stones, and both he and the ONB (1867) remark on a possible inner circle, the latter saying 'it would appear that when entire there was generally an outer and inner circle with a sort of intervening embankment, carried round the circle to the east and north east then ditches were turned off to form a sort of avenue by which the circle was approached'. Both the recumbent stone and the standing stone to its east had cupmarks, the former a great many and the latter 7, 6 near its base (Ritchie 1918; Coles 1903).

J Ritchie 1918; F R Coles 1903; Name Book 1867; Information from Estate Plan 1782.

The 5 stones still survive, but there is no evidence of an inner circle or earthworks. The cup-marks are quite clear. There are two largish stones near the field gate at NJ 5506 4879, which are probably those mentioned by Ritchie (1918), but they are not obviously removed standing stones.

Visited by (RDL) 5 February 1964.

Recumbent stone circle as described and illustrated.

Visited by OS (NKB) 16 January 1968.

NJ 5508 4872 The recumbent stone circle of Rothiemay is situated in a field to the S of the B9117 road some 0.5km E of the village of Milltown of Rothiemay. At present only four upright stones remain, two on either side of a large recumbent stone which has no flankers. The position of the recumbent stone, at the SW extreme of the arc formed by the monument stones, is typical of such monuments in the area. The heights of the upright stones all approximate to 2m, whilst the recumbent measures about 4 x 1.2m by 1.7m high.

A geophysical survey of the site was undertaken using earth resistance and magnetic methods. The stones were standing in pools of water up to 15cm deep, which effectively masked buried features in the resistance survey, particularly in the vicinity of the three southernmost stones. It was also evident, through their strong magnetisation, that the stones were igneous. Several of the scattered and piled stones in the field were also of igneous origin, confirming the igneous intrusive element on the site.

The coincidence of high resistance with high magnetism in some areas of the survey suggests the presence of ?fired? stone features. It is possible that stones were removed from the circle leaving an igneous residue of packing and fractured stone. Assuming this, the sites of lost stones can be inferred.

If these features are used in conjunction with the known standing stones, a reasonable model can be constructed of the monument. This places five anomalies together with two upright stones as ?outer circle? stones. The remaining uprights, the recumbent and three anomalies form an ?inner circle? within which three anomalies form part of a general igneous platform of horseshoe shape. On the basis of this model the maximum diameter of the circle is 33m. This is significantly larger than other circles in the district, but compares well with the maximum diameter of that at Auchquhorthies (Kincardine; NO 901 963) which also has a concentric form.

A simpler model would be to set the four upright stones and four of the anomalies on a deformed circle, still with a maximum diameter of 33m, with the recumbent asymmetrically placed and confronting, to the N, a platform bounded by three anomalies. This leads to other major anomalies as outliers.

A fuller report has been lodged with the NMRS.

A Aspinall 1998

Activities

Field Visit (1 April 2004)

This recumbent stone circle is situated within a gently sloping arable field roughly midway down the SE spur of Mannoch Hill, a low summit due N of Milltown of Rothiemay. The circle, which measures 28m in overall diameter, may have comprised from twelve to fourteen stones, but it is now reduced to only five, one of them the heavily cupmarked recumbent slightly askew the circumference on the SW (2). This is a roughly rectangular block in profile, measuring about 4.3m in length by up to 1.8m in height, and a possible stone sleeper emerges from beneath the front of its W end. The relatively even summit of the recumbent, which has a raised lump at its E end, bears at least nineteen cupmarks, and another seventy-two were noted on the W side of its rear on the date of visit, including at least eight surrounded by single rings (but see below). With the flankers and so many other orthostats missing it is impossible to demonstrate that the circle was graded in height; the tallest of the four surviving orthostats, which exhibits at least four cupmarks on its outer face, is now on the SSE (4), and the shortest on the WNW (7). The featureless interior has been intensively cultivated.

Visited by RCAHMS (ATW and KHJM) 1 April 2004

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