Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

Spa and Hot Springs of Bath

The spa and hot springs of Bath are traditionally associated with the Romans. It is true that the Romans developed the baths and built a massive complex, with temples and administrative buildings, around them. However the site dates back to the Celtic period, and the baths have been in used almost continuously since the Romans left. The spa was revitalised in the 18th century and appears on the novels of Jane Austen. Tod ...
Founded: Celtic | Location: Bath, United Kingdom

Callanish Stones

The Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. Archaeological excavation in the 1980s proved that the main circle was erected 4,500-5,000 years ago, and the chambered tomb a few generations later. The setting has a unique arrangement, with lines of ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Skara Brae

Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic settlement which consists of eight clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE. Europe"s most complete Neolithic village, Skara Brae gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status. As older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, it has been called the 'Scottish Pompeii' because of its excellent preservation. In the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, c ...
Founded: | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Ring of Brodgar

The Ring Of Brodgar Stone Circle And Henge, which is part of The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, is a spectacular stone circle. The ring is surrounded by a large circular ditch or henge. The truly circular layout of the ring is an unusual attribute that singles it out as one of the largest and finest stone circles in the British Isles. The Ring of Brodgar (alternative spelling Brogar) comprises a massive ce ...
Founded: 2500-2000 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals. Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Ge ...
Founded: 90 AD | Location: Newport, United Kingdom

Burghead Pictish Fort

The present town of Burghead was built between 1805 and 1809, destroying in the process more than half of the site of an important Pictish hill fort. General Roy’s map shows the defences as they existed in the 18th century although he wrongly attributed them to the Romans. The fort was probably a major Pictish centre and was where carved slabs depicting bulls were found; they are known as the 'Burghead Bulls' ...
Founded: 3rd century AD | Location: Burghead, United Kingdom

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that th ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Callanish II

The Callanish II stone circle is one of many megalithic structures around the better-known (and larger) Callanish Stones (I) on the west coast of the isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The stone circle consists of thin standing stones arranged in the shape of an ellipse measuring 21.6 by 18.9 metres. Five of the stones are standing and two have fallen. The stones vary from 2 to 3.3 metres in height. A slab, ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Standing Stones of Stenness

The Standing Stones of Stenness is a Neolithic monument and may be the oldest henge site in the British Isles. Various traditions associated with the stones survived into the modern era and they form part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Maeshowe chambered cairn is about 1.2 km to the east of the Standing Stones of Stenness and several other Neolithic monuments also lie in the vicinity, suggesting tha ...
Founded: 3100 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Midhowe Broch

Midhowe Broch is an iron-age structure situated on a narrow promontory between two steep-sided creeks, on the north side of Eynhallow Sound. The broch is part of an ancient settlement, part of which has been lost to coastal erosion. The broch got its name from the fact that it"s the middle of three similar structures that lie grouped within 500 metres of each other and Howe from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Cramond Roman Fort

The fort at Cramond was located on the River Almond at the point where it flows into the Forth. In Roman times, there was probably a natural harbour here. One suggested interpretation is that Cramond formed a chain of Lothian forts along with Carriden and Inveresk. The fort was established around 140 during the building of the Antonine Wall, and remained in use until around 170 when the Romans retreated south to Hadrian&q ...
Founded: 140 AD | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Jarlshof

Jarlshof is the best known prehistoric archaeological site in Shetland Islands. It lies near the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland and has been described as 'one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles'. It contains remains dating from 2500 BC up to the 17th century AD. The Bronze Age settlers left evidence of several small oval houses with thick stone walls and various artefact ...
Founded: 2500 BC | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Callanish III

The Callanish III stone circle is one of many megalithic structures around the better-known (and larger) Callanis Stones (I) on the west coast of the isle of Lewis. The stone circle consists of two concentric ellipses. The outer ring measures about 13.7 by 13.1 metres. It contains 13 stones, of which eight are still standing and five have fallen. The inner ring is a pronounced oval measuring 10.5 by 6.6 metres. Only four ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Pentre Ifan

Pentre Ifan contains and gives its name to the largest and best preserved neolithic dolmen in Wales. As it now stands, the Pentre Ifan Dolmen is a collection of seven principal stones. The largest is the huge capstone, 5 m long, 2.4 m wide and 0.9 m thick. It is estimated to weigh 16 tonnes and rests on the tips of three other stones, some 2.5 m off the ground. There are six upright stones, three of which support the caps ...
Founded: 3500 BCE | Location: Newport, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom

Castell Henllys

Castell Henllys (Welsh, 'castle of the old court') is an important archaeological site in north Pembrokeshire. The Iron Age hillfort has been the subject of an ongoing excavation for more than twenty years, accompanied by an exercise in reconstruction archaeology whereby experiments in prehistoric farming have been practised. Four roundhouses and a granary have been reconstructed on their original Iron Age foun ...
Founded: 500-100 BCE | Location: Newport, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom

Kilmartin Glen

Kilmartin Glen is an area in Argyll, which has one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland. There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six mile radius of the village, with 150 of them being prehistoric. Monuments include standing stones, a henge monument, numerous cists, and a 'linear cemetery' comprising five burial cairns. Several of these, as well as many n ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Clickimin Broch

The Broch of Clickimin is a large and well preserved, though somewhat restored broch near Lerwick. Originally built on an island in Clickimin Loch (now increased in size by silting and drainage), it was approached by a stone causeway. The water-level in the loch was reduced in 1874, leaving the broch high and dry. The broch is situated within a walled enclosure and, unusually for brochs, features a large 'blockhouse' betw ...
Founded: 200-100 BC | Location: Lerwick, United Kingdom

Tinkinswood

Tinkinswood is a megalithic burial chamber, built around 6,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, in the Vale of Glamorgan. The structure is called a dolmen, which was the most common megalithic structure in Europe. The dolmen is of the Severn-Cotswold tomb type, and consists of a large capstone on top, with smaller upright stones supporting it. The limestone capstone at Tinkinswood weighs approximately 40 long tons ...
Founded: 4000 BCE | Location: Cardiff, United Kingdom

Giant's Ring

The Giant"s Ring is a henge monument at Ballynahatty, near Shaw"s Bridge, Belfast. It dates from the Neolithic period and was built around 2700 BCE. It is near the Shaw"s Bridge crossing of the River Lagan, a point which has been used as a crossing of the river since at least the Stone Age. The original purpose of the monument was most likely as a meeting place or as a memorial to the dead. The ...
Founded: 2700 BCE | Location: Belfast, United Kingdom

Barnhouse Neolithic Settlement

The Neolithic Barnhouse was discovered in 1984 by Colin Richards. Excavations were conducted between 1986 and 1991, over time revealing the base courses of at least 15 houses. The houses have similarities to those of the early phase of the better-known settlement at Skara Brae in that they have central hearths, beds built against the walls and stone dressers, but differ in that the houses seem to have been free-standing. ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.

The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.

Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.

In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.

The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.