Monday, 23 August 2010

March Stones 26 and 27 ABD - Brotherfield

In common with other cities, notably Washington DC, the historic borders of Aberdeen are marked with boundary stones - The March Stones. ("March" being mid-Scots for "boundary" or "border").

The March Stones are said to mark the boundary of lands granted to the Burgh of Aberdeen by Robert the Bruce.

The westernmost of the March Stones are at Brotherfield.

Click for a bigger version.

Stone 26 ABD is at the confluence of the Ord Burn and Silverburn. 

Stone 27 ABD is one of the more recently-made stones, its predecessor presumably having been swept away by the Ord Burn which it borders. There had been a fair bit of rain in the few days before we visited, and the burn was roaring in spate. Aside from the style of the carving, one aspect of the newer stones is that they do not follow the convention of facing inwards, towards the burgh. That is, in order to read the inscription on the older stones, one must be standing within the border. 

In order to see the inscription on Stone 27 ABD, one must be standing outwith the border. Not that it really matters.

Stone 27 ABD used to mark an artifact known as 'The Ringing Stone'. The origin of the name has been lost in time, along with the stone itself, but stones which 'ring' with a tone when struck are not uncommon - there are 'rock-gong' sites all round the world. Indeed, the recumbent stone at the Tyrebagger stone circle is a 'ringing stone'. There's an article in this week's New Scientist about the importance of acoustics and sound design to our prehistoric ancestors. The article touches on 'rock gongs', so it's worth a read in this context.

While we were in the area, we took the opportunity to re-visit the site of Stone 21 ABD and got a proper photo of it. Cattle-saliva and bird-lime smeared though it is...

Then, as you can see, the weather closed in on us...

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From Beans Hill, you can see all the way to Lochnagar. Weather permitting.

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