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the part of the stone circle builders to adopt the henge in the most heavily henged regions. This does not explain if or why astronomy or burials would be involved, but it is clear that some of the most elaborate ones ( Avebury and Stone-henge, for instance) apparently served more than one purpose (social functions, trade, funerary, calendric, and maybe other kinds of astronomy functions). Does similarity in style of a center accompany similarity of purposes?

Burl (1988, pp. 187-190,195) maintains that there is little evidence of numeracy at this period, although he points out (following Thom) the remarkable similarity in design and size between Castle Rigg and Brats Hill on Burn Moor. There is also a similarity between Swinside and Ballynoe in (Northern) Ireland, that is so great that Burl thinks Ballynoe was actually built by Cumbrians. At Swinside (60 stones in a circle 90ft in diameter), there is a portal entrance to the SE. The two northern stones of the portal coincide

Figure 6.21. In this view, Long Meg presents the image of a leader addressing a gathering, or perhaps a teacher and her class or a matriarch and her family. Photo by Sharon Hanna.

with alignment with sunrise on Samain (a cross-quarter day; modern Halloween) (Burl 1993, p. 38). At Ballynoe, a circle of 72 stones with a diameter of 108 ft, has a large portal with the northern stones of the portal aligned on the equinox sunset (Burl 1993, p. 38).

Burl (1988, p. 189) thinks that the diameter of the circles may be a guide to the size of the populations that created them and gathered in them. He guesses supporting populations of ~400 people at Castle Rigg and ~4000 at Long Meg and Her Daughters; of these numbers, 1/10 would have been present at any one time. The circles normally had an entrance or portal marked by two larger stones, with a bigger than usual distance between them, and another pair outside the circle aligned on the entrance pair. The entrances were roughly on the cardinal points. Burl (1988, p. 200) writes there is hardly a precise alignment in the Cumbrian rings and if any one site were taken on its own, one would be justified in thinking that a supposed calendrical or cardinal orientation was accidental, even imaginary. Single sites can be misleading. Instead, it is the repetition, in ring after ring of comparable alignments that reinforces the belief that the lines were intended and needed by prehistoric people. General patterns, rather than individual site-lines, buttress the argument in favour of archaeoastronomy.

Burl's final summary of his views on the Cumbrian circles is much more broadly applicable (Burl 1988, p. 202):

This may have been what a stone circle was to its people, a place where axes and gifts were exchanged, a place where annual gatherings were held, a place to which the bodies of the dead were brought before burial, but, above all, a place that was the symbol of the cosmos, the living world made everlasting in stone, its circle the circle of the skyline, its North point the token of the unchang-ingness of life, a microcosm of the world in stone, the most sacred of places to its men and women.

South of the Cumbrian circles in the British Midlands are a number of old, flattened circles, one of the best preserved of which is that at Arbor Low (Figure 6.23), although the stones are nearly all fallen over. At the center of its henge

Figure 6.22. Rain-darkened markings on Long Meg. There are three markings on this monument. (a) The entire stone; (b) cup and ring, and spiral; and (c) concentric rings. The spiral is poorly visible in (b) at the lower right. Photo by E.F. Milone.

Figure 6.23. Panoramic view of Arbor Low at Derbyshire, in the English midlands, a large henge and ring structure comparable in scale to Long Meg and Her Daughters: Note the combination of mound, ditch, and stone circle, characteristic of midland sites. Photos and Montage, courtesy Dr. T.A. Clark.

Figure 6.23. Panoramic view of Arbor Low at Derbyshire, in the English midlands, a large henge and ring structure comparable in scale to Long Meg and Her Daughters: Note the combination of mound, ditch, and stone circle, characteristic of midland sites. Photos and Montage, courtesy Dr. T.A. Clark.

and ring is one of only four "coves"—three-sided structures composed of three large stones—to be located at such sites in the British Isles.14 It faces SSW but is now fallen. Arbor Low shares many similarities with Cairnpapple (in scale and shape, of both henge and circle), where the funerary tradition spans millennia (Burl 1976, pp. 279-282).

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