Monday, 9 May 2011

4000 years old!

Amazing isn't it - this is a close up of one of the stones in the Calanais Stone Circle on Lewis - well in excess of 4000 years old and yet still with this amount of texture and vibrancy. Many archaeologists believe that Calanais ("Callanish" when translated from the Gaelic) is older than Stonehenge. For my money it's certainly more impressive. It's also far more accessible - here you can walk right up to the stones, in between them, around them. You can touch and feel the texture and look closely to see the rich colours in the Lewisian Gneiss that they are made of. Admission is also free - as is the case with pretty much all of the incredible archaeology in the Hebrides. Contrast that with the £7.50 admission fee to see Stonehenge at extreme distance - no chance of getting close enough to touch those stones! Add to that the near certainty of the A303 crawling to a halt in that particular part of Wiltshire (I overshot the turn-off for Calanais when we visited this time, but no matter, I just popped a quick three point turn on the main road and went back.....I wouldn't recommend trying THAT on the A303) and all in all I know which mystical spot I'd rather visit!



Graham Edwards said...

I was interested and amused by your heading to this post. I think that the Standing Stones as a stone 'circle' at Callanish may be as old as 5000 years. But that's a blip in their history! Lewisian Gneiss is approximately 3 billion years old. You are showing one of the oldest rocks on the planet.

Oddly even though I've seen most of Britain I've never been to see Stonehenge even though I've been past. But then I can go and get close and personal with the Callanish Stones any time in perfect peace as you describe.

Robyn said...

I'm jealous of that too - it's such a fabulous place, you're lucky to be "right there". We alwa think Callanish is SO much more impressive than Stonehenge in any case, in spite of the "showiness" of the Wiltshire version.