The 12 Apostles Stone Circle

History & Heritage
This Neolithic Stone Circle is the largest in mainland Scotland containing 11 of the original stones.
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About The 12 Apostles Stone Circle

The present stone circle has 11 stones and measures 86 metres in diameter making it the largest in mainland Scotland with only the Ring of Brodgar on the Orkney Islands being larger. However it is thought that when the circle was first built that it may have had as many as 18 stones in it. The site is believed to be at least 4500 years old and dates from the late Neolithic period. The name 12 Apostles comes from the 19th Century when the Circle had 12 stones and the farmer destroyed one to be used as building material. Some locals described this as like Jesus losing one of his 12 disciples.

The 12 Apostles Stone Circle is certainly part of a much larger stone age complex of monuments around the modern day Holywood village just North of Dumfries. In close proximity to the 12 Apostles are two curses, some ring ditches, enclosures and mounds which suggest that this could have been a meeting place with strong ceremonial links for differing Neolithic groups of people. The site here has no clear links to the cosmos but its size clearly suggests the importance of the site.

The stones themselves are actually crafted from two different types of stone and at present 5 of them are still earthfast. There are also some cup markings on one of the stones which add even greater intrigue to this fascinating site.

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