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 stones radiating in four directions from the ring. It is not fully clear whether the stone alignments were constructed at the same time as the ring, or later. The layout of the site, along with many others across the British Isles, appears to have an association with astronomical events, the precise nature of which cannot be determined.

Numerous other ritual sites lie within a few kilometres. These are mainly more modest rings of standing stones, or single monoliths. The most impressive Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh and Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheag lie just over a kilometre south-east of the main Calanais ring, and originally consisted of rings of stones at least eight in number.

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Founded: 3000-2500 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Gergo Farkas (4 years ago)
It was a really nice experience to see these old stones, it oozes history. But the number of tourists present can ruin it. Make sure to get there when it is mostly empty.
liza s (4 years ago)
Beautiful location. Happened to be there on a sunny day while cycling around Scotland. Made for a good break with a café nearby.
shubham Jain (4 years ago)
There may be single standing stones, circles, lines or groups of them. Their dates are mostly from 4000 BC to 1,500 BC. Since Neolithic peoples did not have writing, we know little about their use. It is generally thought they had both practical (meeting place) and ceremonial or religious uses. Pottery that has been found near some of these stones suggest some of them in Europe belonged to the so-called 'Beaker culture'.
Max Eaves (5 years ago)
Very touristy. As usual a reasonable looking cafe and visitor centre. The midges however are spectacular (and itchy). What I would recommend is clambering onto the rocks above the stones and looking at the amazing view of the sea loch. Best to visit when either windy or wet (less touristy and less midgy).
ade0410 (5 years ago)
Recently visited. Out of season on a Sunday so the tourist office was closed but the toilets are still open! However it was amazing to walk up to and see the Stones. Great to read and learn about them all too. We also walked and saw the other two sites which I'd recommend too. Overall we really enjoyed it and definitely worth a visit.
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