A stone circle thought to be thousands of years old has turned out to be a lot more modern after a former farm owner admitted building the replica in the 1990s.
The “recumbent stone circle” in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, Aberdeenshire, was reported by the site’s current farm with unusual features including its small diameter and proportionately small stones.
Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s archaeology service celebrated it as an authentic discovery and continued their research until being contacted by the former owner who said they had built the stone circle in the mid-1990s.
Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “It is obviously disappointing to learn of this development, but it also adds an interesting element to its story."
“That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation and engagement with the archaeology of the region by the local community.
“I hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed – while not ancient, it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.”
Recumbent stone circles often date back 3,500-4,500 years and are unique to the north-east of Scotland.
Mr Ackerman added: “These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date.
“For this reason we include any modern replicas of ancient monuments in our records in case they are later misidentified.
“We always welcome reports of any new, modern reconstructions of ancient monuments, especially those built with the skill of this stone circle and that reference existing monument types.”