Archaeologists were amazed when they first saw a newly-identified ancient arrangement of stones on a farm in Aberdeen in December.
They first found out about the monument when a woman who owns the farm told local experts about the stone circle after she couldn’t find any records of the ancient ring. The experts believed it was a new discovery of what they know as Recumbent Stone Circles, which were built in the northeast region of Scotland about 3,500 to 4,500 years ago.
Scottish archaeologists arrived at the scene and remarked at how unique the arrangement was. “In numbering ten stones it fits the average, but its diameter is about three [meters] smaller than any known hitherto and it is unusual in that all the stones are proportionately small,” Adam Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland said, according to an Aberdeenshire Council news release.
But the experts hoped the differences might help them learn something new about local history. “This amazing new site adds to our knowledge of these unique monuments and of the prehistoric archaeology of the area,” Neil Ackerman, an archaeologist for the council, said at the time of the Stonehenge-like discovery. “It is rare for these sites to go unidentified for so long, especially in such a good condition.”
Now Ackerman realises he was a bit hasty in his celebration of the ancient marvel. On Monday, the Aberdeenshire Council released a report revealing that the stone monument was actually only about 20 years old. Ackerman tweeted about the development.
If you are having an awkward day at work at least you're not that guy who identified a new prehistoric stone circle to the press that now turns out to be about 20 years old. https://t.co/9EGmb9H3pO
— Neil Ackerman (@ncackerman) January 21, 2019
After a flurry of reports about the “discovery” were published, a previous owner of the farm told Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland that he had constructed the stone arrangement just a couple decades ago.
“It is obviously disappointing to learn of this development, but it also adds an interesting element to its story,” Ackerman said in a public statement. “That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation and engagement with the archaeology of the region by the local community.”
He added that even though the construction isn’t thousands of years old, “it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.”
Ackerman told Gizmodo that the builder of the modern stone circle has an interest in archaeology and must have been very familiar with Recumbent Stone Circles in order to build such a great replica. [Aberdeenshire Council, CNN]
Featured image: Neil Ackerman (Aberdeenshire Council)