Updated: May 29, 2019
What a gorgeous day to accidentally find a Pictish stone/stone circle/henge! I'd heard that the Garioch Heritage Centre was having a book sale (thanks to the Bailies of Bennachie for sharing!), and brought Luna along to find a place for a nice walk after stopping at the sale.
I'd spied a greenspace on the map in Port Elphinstone so I headed over that way and parked. I checked the OS map to see if there was anything interesting nearby and was surprised to see "Symbol Stone," "Stone Circe", and "Henge" less than a 10 minute walk away through the village. I don't know how I was unaware of this one, I've visited Brandsbutt Stone nearby, and the stones at the Inverurie cemetery.
This place is called Broomend of Chrichie, and has been a rewarding site from an archaeological standpoint. It must have been an important place to have found so many different things here. Some well known artifacts have been found, as well as evidence of timber posts, possibly a timber circle. Multiple cremation burials were found, as well as 2 Beaker burials. A 1780 sketch of the estate plan is intriguingly marked "Druids Temple." There were 6 stones in the original circle, and a stone avenue leading up to the henge. There is still one stone left standing in the avenue, but the others were broken up with gunpowder in the 19th Century (Sob! This is an all too common story).
The ditch around the henge is very well defined on foot, and even better from aerial photographs. (A henge is generally defined as a prehistoric earthwork, usually circular, and made with stones or wood.) Excavations also found evidence of another ring nearby, and a written description from 1757 describes an "altar of one stone, with a cavity in the upper part, wherein some of the blood of the sacrifice was put." Its possible this could have been a recumbent stone circle (unique to Aberdeenshire) but we will never know - it was also destroyed, by quarrying!
Originally the Pictish Stone was not in the circle. It was found when a nearby bank was being broken up for railroad material, and it was moved to the henge with the other stones. If you look closely you will see a Pictish Beast on the top, and a crescent and V Rod underneath it. Its a gorgeous stone!
This is a prime example of hidden in plain sight - its in a field behind a gas station, and behind a housing complex. But due to the lay of the land you wouldn't see it from the road. This is why I'm in the habit of checking the OS map - you just never know what might be right under your nose!
On the walk back to the car, someone whistled at me as he drove by. I honestly can't remember the last time I was whistled at, and I didn't mind ;) Oh, and I know you're curious - I did find some treasures at the book sale. I spent £10 and walked away with multiple books over 100 years old.