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


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Site Visit Check List

When visiting ancient stones, many of which can involve considerable effort to reach and also to find when you actually get there, it can be easy to forget to take notes on important matters. More than once Iíve had to return to a site to take additional notes, having forgotten to look for something or other. To help me avoid this I made up a brief checklist as an aid memoir to help me record all the information I need for each entry on the web site.

This check list has been reproduced below and may prove useful for anyone wishing to start "collecting" the ancient stones in their own area.

Concerning the stone or stones

  1. Measure dimensions of stone or stones.
  2. Check orientation of faces using compass.
  3. What is the stone composed of e.g. sandstone?
  4. Is there any quartz in the stone matrix?
  5. Has the stone been packed around the base?
  6. Any cup and ring markings or other marks?
  7. Note any points on weathering of the stone.
  8. Check stone for damage, missing parts, etc.
  9. Look for evidence of ritual activity on stone.

Location specific points

  1. Note general description of location.
  2. Note atmosphere or ambience at location.
  3. Any possible alignments with other stones, moon or sun?
  4. Consider original reason for site being created.
  5. Look for landscape clues to support 4 above.
  6. Any other stones in the local area?
  7. Note relationships between stones at site.
  8. Note weather conditions at time of visit.
  9. Can other prehistoric sites can be seen from the site?
  10. Consider ley lines for the location.
  11. Look for signs of ritual activity.
  12. Are there any associated features e.g. fort, track, etc.
  13. Note type of site e.g. stone circle, standing stone, etc.

General points

  1. Take notes on directions to location.
  2. Take notes on parking at site.
  3. Record notes on accessibility of site
  4. Anything else you can think of?
  5. Use GPS to take grid ref or check existing grid ref.
  6. Note any restrictions on using GPS at location.

The above list may seem somewhat excessive but when you are in the field, it does not take long to cover everything and jot down a few notes. I must admit to not using it on all occasions, particularly when it raining or snowing heavily but it does also help you get more from the site of any ancient stone. Even if you are not writing anything down, just going through the points above will help you get the most from any ancient stone you visit.

039 Five Stones, Hownam.

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