One of the best preserved recumbent stone circles is the Easter Aquhothies circle near the town of Inverurie, north-west of Aberdeen.
Archaeologist debate whether they were used for astronomical observations, such as determining the midwinter sunrise – an important date for early agricultural communities – or the perceived motions of the moon.
Most of Scotland’s recumbent stone circles are located on high ground with wide views of the surrounding landscape – like this ancient stone circle near the village of Kirkton of Bourtie, near Inverurie.
Neolithic carved stone balls
More than 500 similar objects have since been found, mainly in the north-east of Scotland, but also in the Orkney Islands and in parts of Ireland.