Walking for miles through the dense forest that covers the land. Mist swirls around, the air is cold and clammy. Yet in the murkiness you sense a presence, that draws you towards it - a faint breath of Spring in the midst of winter.
Tired, you stumble on a clearing in the trees, the mist dispels and the pale light of the low winter sun breaks through. In the clearing before you standing stones nestle against the trees that surround the clearing, and a soft air of magic suffuses the air. The wind and the rain of ages past, has carved fantastic patterns on the stones. In the stillness of the stones, an ermine dances in the rays of the winter sun. This is Megalithia, land of ancient stones.
It is also the British Isles - with hundreds of megalithic monuments preserved for us. Share with me a while, gentle traveller, a special piece of the history of these Isles.
Everyone has, of course, heard of Stonehenge, but far fewer have heard of magnificent Avebury - big enough to contain a whole village within the boundaries, and many more treasures to delight and puzzle the traveller to these great stones linking us to the very dawn of human knowledge. Cornwall is incredibly rich in prehistoric stones, and Scotland hosts the Standing Stones of Callanish - a huge and atmospheric stone circle and avenues on the Isle of Lewis. In Wales, and particularly the Isle of Anglesey, hundreds of stones have marked the centuries since prehistoric man.
Ireland has a great megalithic tradition from the beautiful county of Cork peppered with standing stones and circles, and the remarkable Newgrange, a chamber so accurately constructed that only on the midwinter sunrise does a single shaft of light light up the chamber. The passage of the seasons was precious knowledge at these times, and many sites have significant alignments on the Sun or the Moon.
The legendary alignments of thousands of standing stones that grace Carnac in Brittany have no parallel. They remind us that even in prehistory there were connections between the British Isles and Europe, which shares with us a rich megalithic tradition though stone circles are a largely British phenomenon.
There is a quick introduction to the people behind the stones, and a list of sites you can view here. You can search for over 1000 sites by name and location - the site database contains over 1200 sites. Latitude and Longitude values are also given for UK sites, for GPS users and archaeo-astronomers. Try it - you may find some treasures near you!
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| archaeology ]
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