Archaeologists in Scotland have revealed that a stone circle thought to be thousands of years old is actually a modern replica.
Aberdeenshire Council said that experts were initially excited by the discovery of the ‘Recumbent Stone Circle,’ a type of monument typically constructed about 3,500 to 4,000 years ago that is unique to the North East of Scotland.
The stone circle, which is in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, was reported by the current owner of the farm where it is located, according to officials. “Some unusual features were noted during its recording, including its small diameter, proportionately small stones and lack of an obvious associated cairn or kerb stones,” explained Aberdeenshire County Council, in a statement. “There is however a huge amount of variation between Recumbent Stone Circles so finding these kinds of differences was not initially a major cause for concern.”
As a result, the site was deemed an authentic Recumbent Stone Circle. However, subsequent research revealed that the "monument" is just a couple of decades old.
A former owner of the farm contacted Aberdeenshire Council to say that he had built the stone circle in the mid-1990s.
“It is obviously disappointing to learn of this development, but it also adds an interesting element to its story,” said Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, in the statement. “That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation and engagement with the archaeology of the region by the local community.”
Recumbent Stone Circles are named after their large horizontal stone, which is known as the “recumbent” and flanked by two upright stones. The flanking stone is usually situated between the south-east to south-west of the circle, according to Aberdeenshire Council.
“These types of monuments are notoriously difficult to date. For this reason, we include any modern replicas of ancient monuments in our records in case they are later misidentified,” he added. “We always welcome reports of any new, modern reconstructions of ancient monuments, especially those built with the skill of this stone circle and that reference existing monument types.”
Ancient stone monuments continue to be a source of fascination.
Last year experts said that the famous ancient site at Stonehenge may have been built using Greek philosopher Pythagoras’ famous theorem two millennia before the mathematical equation was developed.
The World Heritage site is known for its alignment with the movements of the Sun -- thousands travel to the site in Avebury, Southern England, to mark the solstices in Summer and Winter.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers