Ancient Stones
A Guide to Standing Stones & Stone Circles in the South of Scotland.


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Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions will hopefully answer many of your most commonly questions asked.

Why did you decide to start Ancient Stones?
I decided to start Ancient Stones, originally called Border Stones, after finding that there was very little information about the standing stones and stones circles in my local area either on the Internet or in printed form. There were plenty of web sites and books about the more popular stone circles of the British Isles but next to nothing about the smaller, less obvious local sites of the Scottish Borders and surrounding regions. So, I decided to start my own web site and record all the stones circles, standing stones, etc, in and around my own patch of the South of Scotland.

How long have you been "collecting" ancient stones?
The first stone I visited for this project was The Altarstone, back in June 2001. However, Iíve been photographing stones for many years and Iíve also been interested in "ancient stones" since my teenage years when my parents took me to see the stone circle at Callanish in the Outer Hebrides while on a family holiday
.

Do you have a favourite stone or location?
It would be difficult to say which of the many sites I've visited is my favourite. Mind you, I would say that the Maiden Stone on Traprain Law is the most exciting, particularly when you follow the ritual associated with the stone!

Whatís the point of creating a database of ancient stones?
In the first instance I wanted a long term project to keep me occupied that would combine my interests in standing stones and the like, involve outdoor activity, creating and managing a web site, using maps and GPS and also allow me to indulge in digital photography. The Ancient Stones project was ideal for this purpose as it combines all these disciplines.

How do I find Ancient Stones in my own area?
First you need to get hold of a decent map of your local area such as an Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger Series or better still a few of the OS 1:25,000 Explorer Series which offer much better detail and more importantly also show more stones. Then, itís just a case of studying the map, noting where the stones are located and going to see them. Check out the Articles section for further advice.

What equipment do I need to find Ancient Stones?
Essential items are a map, compass and the ability to use it along with some means of transport be it a car or bicycle. Other items such as GPS receiver and digital camera are useful to have but are optional.

What about trespassing on private land?
Here in
Scotland access to private land is rarely a problem and most landowners will be happy for you to walk on their land if you are sensible and respect their property. If you are uncertain about any site, just ask for permission, it will rarely be refused. Landowners will often be as interested in the stones on their land as you are and may have some local knowledge on the subject.

What types of stones are you interested in?
I started looking at stones that were "officially" prehistoric such as standing stones and stone circles, those show in italics on Ordnance Survey maps, but I soon found other stones that were also of interest and although they were not recorded are "officially" prehistoric, because they were unusual, out-of-place or interesting, I started to record them as well. I firmly believe that just because the ďauthoritiesĒ do not regard any stone or site as prehistoric does not mean that it did not have some important ritual or other meaning in the past.

Some of your conclusions are a bit eccentric. Why is this?
One of the joys of not being academically controlled is that you can use your imagination to look and see what might have been. For many years I've been interested in all manner of earth mysteries such as ley lines, unidentified flying objects, dowsing, earth lights, and alien big cats and tend to look at any ancient site with these subjects in mind. The interesting thing is that we just do not know for sure why standing stones, stone circles or other sacred stones were erected. Who is to say that one theory is better than another?

Do you accept photographs of the stones listed on your site?
Sorry but I do not accept images from third parties as I wish the entire site, including text and articles, to be all my own personal work. I also want to keep editorial control over the quality and style of photographs shown.

Do you plan to publish an "Ancient Stones" book?
Yes, I do have plans to publish a book, or rather a series of A5 booklets on the sites featured here on Ancient Stones. The first will be The Ancient Stones of The Lothians, which is currently being written. See The Booklets for further information.

What information resources do you use?
I start off with Ordnance Survey maps, using both Landranger and Explorer series to initially locate the sites. I then use the online CANMORE database at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to see what information has been recorded for the site. This also brings other stones to light that are not marked on the maps. The Internet is also used and I have a small collection of books and booklets, although these are quite limited in their scope and value. Other than that, most of the information you see is obtained personally during field trips.

Iíve found a site not listed in Ancient Stones. Interested?
Of course, please send me any information you have on the site and if itís within the area Iím covering, Iíll add it to the To Do List for a future visit and possible inclusion as an entry in the database. Please include as much information as you can. However, I have a list of many hundreds of sites to visit and it might be some time before your suggestion appears online.

Can I use some of your photographs please?
I would be happy for my photographs to be used but would ask you to contact me first and also adhere to the following requirements:

1. There must be a credit to ďAncient StonesĒ alongside each image used.

2. A link to http://www.ancient-stones.co.uk should be included with each image.

3. You should not link to any of my images but should install the image or images on your own server. I can supply high resolution images for you to edit as required.

053 Brothers' Stones, St. Boswells.

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