Ballynoe Stone Circle is a large and complex site which appears as a large circle of over 50 closely spaced upright stones, some as much as six feet tall, with some small gaps, surrounding a space about 110 ft across. Two of the fallen stones have cavities which could be artificial cup-marks. The stones of the outer circle are nearly all composed of local Silurian grit, but a few are granite erratics. Two of the stones stand 7 ft apart immediately outside the circle on the west, and there are four outlying stones, two on the north-east and two on the south-west. In the eastern half of the circle is an oval mound contained within a kerb with diameters of 46 and 58 ft, with the long axis on an east–west alignment. Immediately inside the circle on the west, opposite a pair of external stones, is an arc of six stones supporting the edge of a raised platform which occupies much the same position as the oval mound on the east. Excavations found that the 5-foot-high (1.5 m) mound was of stony earth, with a stone cairn at the core. Under the mound, between the cairn and the kerb were found a number of smooth boulders (baetyls) set in the old surface. Large cists were found at the east and west ends of the mound containing cremated bones.
It would seem that a kerbed round mound in the passage tomb tradition was added to the east end of a long cairn in the court tomb tradition, with a stone circle encompassing this composite structure. The site is the result of long development, and a late Neolithic to earlier Bronze Age date range is likely, as it seems to span several different building phases. Aubrey Burl has noted that a number of the characteristic features of the Ballynoe circle (its diameter, outlying stones and north–south alignment) are closely paralleled in Cumbria.
The mound was excavated in 1937–38 by Dutch archaeologist, Dr AE Van Giffen, who died before publishing his examination of the site. The excavation concentrated on the mound, finding stone cists containing cremated bones. The only pottery recovered was from a small cremation pocket outside the mound and was a decorated rim sherd of Carrowkeel (passage grave) ware. There was a random scatter of cremation pockets between the mound and the stone circle. The excavations failed to satisfactorily explain the relationship between the various parts of the site.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.