The Standing Stones of Caithness
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
The Standing Stones of Caithness by Leslie J Myatt, 2003, is the first complete description of megalithic standing stone sites in Caithness, in the Highland area of Scotland, since 1911, when the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland produced its Caithness Inventory.
Myatt's inventory includes new discoveries, puts on record the destruction of sites since 1911, and attempts to reassess sites in the light of relevant recent work throughout Britain and of new surveys in Caithness. In particular Myatt describes alignments relevant to theories of megalithic astronomy, as developed by Alexander Thom. To enable understanding of these descriptions Myatt includes a chapter called Megalithic Astronomy, which details changes in the apparent movements of the sun and moon, as seen from earth. This chapter concludes with a description of the 16-month solar calendar developed or recreated by Thom (Megalithic Sites in Britain, Oxford University Press, 1967) and supposed to have been used by those who erected the megaliths.
Myatt identifies over 60 standing stone sites in Caithness. These are described in chapters called The isolated stones (which includes pairs of stones), The stone circles and The stone rows. The stone rows are peculiar to Caithness and the neighbouring county of Sutherland: they consist of fan-shaped arrangements of small stones, each stone rising 50 centimetres or less above ground level.
Myatt groups sites also with respect to the traditional parishes of Caithness, following perhaps the practice of the Royal Commission in 1911.
The distribution of the standing stone sites is compared to some degree with that of chambered cairns, which are also well represented in Caithness.