A NEWLY-IDENTIFIED 'Recumbent Stone Circle' has been recorded on a farm in Aberdeenshire, in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie.

Despite being a complete stone circle that has obviously been known and respected by those who have farmed the area over the years, it has been unknown to archaeologists until now. The site was reported to Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeology Service by Fiona Bain, whose family have farmed in the area for generations.

Historic Environment Record Assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, Neil Ackerman, visited the site along with Adam Welfare, Alison McCaig and Katrina Gilmour from Historic Environment Scotland (Survey and Recording).

While fitting the Recumbent Stone Circle model, the Leochel-Cushnie circlle is a slightly unusual example, Mr Welfare explained: “In numbering ten stones it fits the average, but its diameter is about three metres smaller than any known hitherto and it is unusual in that all the stones are proportionately small.

“It is orientated SSW and enjoys a fine outlook in that direction, while the rich lichen cover on the stones is indicative of the ring’s antiquity.”

Mr Ackerman added: “This amazing new site adds to our knowledge of these unique monuments and of the prehistoric archaeology of the area. It is rare for these sites to go unidentified for so long, especially in such a good condition. To be able add a site like this to the record caps off what has been a fantastic year for archaeology in north east Scotland.”

Recumbent Stone Circles were constructed between 3500 and 4500 years ago and are unique to the north east of Scotland. Their defining feature is a large horizontal stone (the recumbent) flanked by two upright stones, usually situated between the south-east to south-west of the circle.

Chair of the Marr Area Committee, Moira Ingleby, said: "This newly recorded site highlights the internationally important archaeology we have within Aberdeenshire. Adding it to the record of known archaeological sites will add to the understanding of these fantastic monuments that are unique to the area."

To find out more about Stone Circles in Aberdeenshire, visit: http://bit.ly/RStoneCircles