In Brief

‘Ancient’ stone circle revealed to be 1990s replica

Archaeologists believed Aberdeenshire monument was up to 4,500 years old until farmer came forward

Archaologists have been left red-faced after a stone circle in Scotland that they initially believed to be thousands of years old was identified as a modern replica.

Earlier this month, experts from the Aberdeenshire Council and Historic Environment Scotland announced that a small circle of stones discovered on a remote farm in the region appeared to be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old, Live Science reports.

The discovery was considered particularly exciting owing to the small diameter of the “recumbent stone circle”, a formation unique to the northeast of Scotland, and the relatively small size of the stones used, says The Guardian

The archaeology service had “commented on how uncommon it was for such monuments to go unnoticed for such a long time”, adds The Scotsman.

But the council “celebrated it as an authentic discovery and continued their research” - until they were contacted by the former owner of the farm, in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, “who said they had built it as a replica in the mid-1990s”, The Guardian continues.

Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at the council, confirmed the “awkward” mistake in a tweet yesterday.

He later added: “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.”

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