Porlock Stone Circle

Porlock Stone Circle is a stone circle located on Exmoor, near the village of Porlock in the south-western English county of Somerset. It is part of a tradition of stone circle construction that spread throughout much of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. The purpose of such monuments is unknown, although archaeologists speculate that the stones represented supernatural entities for the circles’ builders.

About Porlock Stone Circle in brief

Summary Porlock Stone CirclePorlock Stone Circle is a stone circle located on Exmoor, near the village of Porlock in the south-western English county of Somerset. It is part of a tradition of stone circle construction that spread throughout much of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, over a period between 3,300 and 900 BCE. The purpose of such monuments is unknown, although archaeologists speculate that the stones represented supernatural entities for the circles’ builders. The circle is about 24 metres in diameter and contains thirteen green micaceous sandstone rocks; there may originally have been more. Directly to the north-east of the circle is a cairn apparently connected to a linear stone row. No evidence has been found that allows for absolute dating of the monument’s construction. A small lead wheel found inside the circle suggests that the site was visited during the Romano-British period. The site was rediscovered in the 1920s and since then a variety of stones have been added to it; its current appearance is a composite of prehistoric and modern elements. The ring is at an altitude of almost 415 metres above sea level, and is positioned 10 kilometres north of the Withypool Stone Circle. By 3000 BCE, the long barrows, causewayed enclosures, and cursuses which had predominated in the Early Neolithic were no longer built, and had been replaced by circular monuments of various kinds.

These include earthen henges, timber circles, and stone circles. Stone circles are found in most areas of Britain where stone is available, with the exception of the island’s south-eastern corner. They are most densely concentrated in south-west England and on the north of Scotland, near Aberdeen. The tradition of their construction may have lasted for 2,400 years, from 3300 to 900 BCE, and the major phase of building taking place between 3000 and 1,300 BCE. These stone circles typically show very little evidence of human visitation during the period immediately following their creation. This suggests that they were not sites used for rituals that left archaeologically visible evidence, but may have been deliberately left as “silent and empty monuments”. The archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson suggested that in Neolithic Britain, stone was associated with the dead, and wood with the living. Other archaeologists have suggested that the stone might not represent ancestors, but rather other supernatural entities, such as deities.