Scotlands History

Calanais

Calanais (or sometimes Callanish) is a site of extensive Bronze-Age archaeological remains, on the west coast of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. The centrepiece of the site is a remarkable circle of 13 large standing stones around a tall (4.75m) central monolith.

Extending out from this circle are lines of stones in the shape of a cross stretching to the east, west and south of the circle, with a double line or ‘avenue’ of stones to the north. The stones are massive slabs of local Lewis gneiss, and they are set in peat moorland.

The lowest 1.5m of the stones are much paler than the top sections, because until 1857 they were partially sunk into the peat.

The site is thought to have been designed and used for rituals connected with the movements of the stars, moon and sun: as a sort of astronomical observatory and gathering place.

The site dates to before 2000 BC - about the same age as the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney.

  • Calanaish ring of standing stones on Lewis

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