In the modern world, stone circles are everywhere. From gorsedd circles in public parks to war memorials, from installations in urban spaces to roundabout ornamentations, from country park monuments to children’s playgrounds, circles of roughly hewn stones can be employed in range of environments.
I’ve discussed a few examples previously in this blog, including at Attingham Park where one is in a children’s playground comprised of stonework from the 18th-century house. The country park at Hafod as a stone circle/sundial with a central miner sculpture. Another example is the inspiration from Stonehenge for Marros war memorial. And yes, there are plenty of stone circles at the National Memorial Arboretum.
They are a common design feature deployed either to evoke the distant past, articulate a particular cultural tradition, demarcate a space, fill an empty space, or simply to be there looking incongruous. Exploring modern stone circles is one of the key foci of the fabulous blog The Urban Prehistorian.
Here I simply want to add a further example for discussion. Here you are:
This is a feature in a children’s playground area at the Severn Valley Country Park. It is a modest circle of 5 stones only, but it makes up for its diminutive size but having a special central sixth larger stone. This stone fosters interaction with it and the circular arrangement, and gives it a zoomorphic allusion, by possessing a pair of circlular holes carved into it. For me, it allows the stone to operate as megalithic binoculars, presumably for child’s play purposes.
Imagine what archaeologists will make of this in future? Theories would range from prehistoric gift exchange using the aperatures, a place of punishing or executing miscreants by tying their arms together through the stone, or means of looking into other worlds… Or maybe it would be seen as a prehistoric owl-cult focus…