Long Meg and her Daughters standing stone and stone circle

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Long Meg and her Daughters is a remarkable Neolithic monument located near Penrith in Cumbria, England. It consists of a large monolith, known as Long Meg, and a stone circle of 59 smaller stones, known as her daughters. The monument is one of the oldest and largest stone circles in Britain, dating from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age (circa 3200-2500 BC) (Wikipedia, n.d.). It is also one of the few stone circles that has megalithic art carved on some of the stones, including a cup and ring mark, a spiral, and concentric circles on Long Meg, and possible cup marks on some of the daughters (Stone Circles, n.d.). These carvings are similar to those found in Neolithic Ireland, such as at Newgrange, suggesting cultural connections across the Irish Sea (Wikipedia, n.d.). The monument is part of a complex of prehistoric sites in the area, which include other stone circles, henges, cairns, and standing stones. Some of these sites are aligned with water sources, such as rivers and springs, which may have had religious or cosmological significance for the Neolithic people (Wikipedia, n.d.). Aerial photography has also revealed evidence of earlier Neolithic enclosures and structures near Long Meg and her Daughters, including a possible cursus monument and a 'super henge' (Archaeological Services Durham University, 2016). These features suggest that the landscape was used for ritual and ceremonial purposes for a long period of time. The origin and meaning of Long Meg and her Daughters are still shrouded in mystery. The stones may have been arranged in an oval shape to reflect the shape of the horizon or the movement of the sun and moon (Stone Circles, n.d.). The monolith may have served as an outlier or marker stone for the circle, or as a focal point for ceremonies or astronomical observations. The stones may have also been associated with myths and legends, such as the folk tale that Long Meg was a witch who was turned to stone along with her daughters by a wizard (Atlas Obscura, 2021). The monument may have been a place of worship, burial, healing, or social gathering for the Neolithic communities who built it and used it.   https://youtu.be/oA69QvGAKm0

References

Archaeological Services Durham University. (2016). Long Meg and Her Daughters Little Salkeld Cumbria post-excavation full analysis report. https://altogetherarchaeology.org/ReportsandProposalDocs/LongMeg/LongMegFA4043.pdf Atlas Obscura. (2021). Long Meg and Her Daughters. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/long-meg-and-her-daughters Stone Circles. (n.d.). Long Meg and her Daughters. http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/longmeg.htm Wikipedia. (n.d.). Long Meg and Her Daughters. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Meg_and_Her_Daughters

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