Calanais / Callanish Stones :: Shared Description

The Calanais (Callanish) Stones are situated on the western coast of the island of Leodhas (Lewis) in na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides). Their remote location has probably helped with preventing their destruction in earlier times.
There are three groups of stones (I, II and III) in the immediate vicinity, with a further seventeen (IV to VIII, VIIIa to XIX) labelled sites and numerous others with no Roman numeral suffix. Of these multitude of sites the first group is the most extensive, famous and important.
It is estimated, as a result of excavation, that the stones were set in place between 2900 and 2600 BC - or nearly five thousand years ago. This means that they predate the main ring at Stonehenge, and are slightly older than the Great Pyramid at Giza, for example.
This date places them in the Neolithic (New Stone Age) period.

Calanais / Callanish I - Clachan Chalanais or Tursachan Chalanais
Calanais I is more complex than most surviving stone rings (which tend to be simply circular) as, looking down on it from above, it appears more like a Celtic Cross - i.e. a cross with a circle around the intersection point. It is not yet ascertained whether the cross and the circle were erected at the same time, or the cross added later. At the heart of the stones was a tomb, long since opened and emptied; but this tomb is thought to be a later addition, so was not the original reason for the stones.
Bronze Age (which immediately followed the Neolithic) remnants found nearby, indicate that the site continued in use for centuries, but it was eventually abandoned, and between 1000BC and 500BC became enveloped in a peat mound, such that their significance was not apparent for most of the modern era. It was not until the peat was removed in 1857 that their importance and grandeur was appreciated.
see NB2133 : Calanais / Callanish I - General View
see also LinkExternal link
and LinkExternal link

Calanais / Callanish II - Cnoc Ceann à Gharaidh
The least extensive of the three groups of stones, Calanais II contains just five stones from what is thought to be an original ten stones with an 11th outlying stone. They are arranged in a slightly flattened circle (an ellipse) with major/minor axes of 21/19m (69/62 ft) They are of a similar date to Calanais I
see NB2232 : Calanais / Callanish II
see also LinkExternal link
and LinkExternal link

Calanais / Callanish III - Cnoc Filibhir Bheag
Calanais III is more extensive than CII having seventeen extant stones. These are arranged as two concentric ellipses. They are a short walk over marshy ground from CII and are the first group to be encountered when driving westwards to Callanish.
see NB2232 : Calanais / Callanish III - General View
see also LinkExternal link
and LinkExternal link

Calanais IV to Calanais XIX
This is a list of the other seventeen (17 rather than 16 as there is VIII and VIIIa) "Calanais / Callanish" sites - some quite some distance from I, II and III
I have tried to find map references, photos and hyperlinks for each site, but I have not personally verified any of the following:
IV - Ceann Hulavig (stone circle) NB22993041 - see NB2330 : Stone Circle at Ceann Hulavig (Callanish IV), LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
V - Garynahine, Àirigh nam Bidearan (stone alignment) NB23442988 see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
VI - Cùl a' Chleit (stone circle) NB24663034 see LinkExternal link (Photos) and LinkExternal link
VII - Cnoc Dubh (aka Cnoc a Botha) NB23203019 (ancient shieling) - see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
VIII - Tursachan (semicircular cliff-top monument on Great Berneray) NB16443425 see NB1634 : Standing Stones, LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
VIIIa - Àird A' Chaolais (standing stone) facing Great Bernera NB16483407 (?) see LinkExternal link
IX - Àirigh Nam Bidearan (recumbent stones) NB23382975 see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
X - Na Dromannan {Druim Nan Eun} (Cnoc a Charnain Mhoir & Bhig) (stone piles & quarry) NB22973362 see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
XI - Beinn Bheag (various stones) NB22233569 see LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link
XII - Stonefield (Breascleit) (standing stone(s)) NB21553496 see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link see also NB2134 : Breascleit Cairn
XIII - Sgeir Nan Each (stone setting) NB215341 {not shown on OS maps} see LinkExternal link
XIV - Cnoc Sgeir Na h-Uidhe (stones) NB22773298 {opposite side of A858 to Cal.III} see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
XV - Àirigh Mhaoldonuich (standing stone) NB17753458 see LinkExternal link
XVI - Cliacabhadh (standing stone + other stones) NB213338 {North of Calanais village, not shown on OS maps} see LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link
XVII - Druim Na h-Aon Choich (standing stone?) NB23703191 see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
XVIII - Loch Crogach (standing stone ?) NB24402923 see LinkExternal link
XIX - Buaile Chruaidh (standing stone ?) NB21813314 see LinkExternal link (Photo) and LinkExternal link
by Rob Farrow

58 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

NB2133 : The Calanais / Callanish Stones by M J Richardson
NB2133 : Callanish from the north by M J Richardson
NB2132 : Calanais Visitor Centre by M J Richardson
NB2230 : Ceann Thulabhaig Stone Circle by Anne Burgess
NB2133 : Calanais standing stones and circle by M J Richardson
NB2132 : Calanais by Anne Burgess
NB2232 : Gate at Calanais II or Cnoc Ceann a' Gharaidh by M J Richardson
NB2133 : Near sunset at the Calanais Standing stones by Doug Lee
NB2232 : Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheag (Callanish III) by Anne Burgess
NB2133 : Three of the Calanais Stones by Anne Burgess
NB2133 : The Central Circle at Calanais by Anne Burgess
NB2232 : Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh (Calanais II) by Anne Burgess
NB2133 : Calanais / Callanish I - Western Arm and Loch Ròg by Rob Farrow
NB2330 : Path to Calanais IV by M J Richardson
NB2232 : Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh (Calanais II) by Anne Burgess
NB2133 : Calanais / Callanish Stones by M J Richardson
NB2133 : Calanais Standing Stones by M J Richardson
NB2133 : Calanais / Callanish I - General View by Rob Farrow
NB2232 : Calanais II by M J Richardson
NB2133 : Calanais / Callanish I - Opened tomb and Eastern Arm by Rob Farrow
NB2232 : Calanais II or Cnoc Ceann a' Gharaidh by M J Richardson
NB2232 : Calanais / Callanish III - General View by Rob Farrow
NB1734 : Calanais/Callanish XV, Circebost, Great Bernera/Beàrnaraigh by Claire Pegrum
NB1634 : Standing stones on Great Bernera/Beàrnaraigh by M J Richardson
NB2233 : Calanais/Callanish X, Cnoc a' Charnain Mhòr, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum

... and 33 more images.
These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Wed, 14 Sep 2011, Updated: Tue, 2 Oct 2012

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2011 Rob Farrow, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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