The Callanish Stones
Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:07:57 AM
Callanish (Scottish Gaelic: Calanais) is a village (township) on the West Side of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides (Western Isles), Scotland. A linear settlement with a jetty, it is situated on a headland jutting into Loch Roag, a sea loch. It lies 13 miles west of Stornoway.
Calanais is the location of the Callanish Stones, a cross-shaped setting of standing stones erected around 2000 BC, one of the most spectacular megalithic monuments in Scotland.
The tallest of the stones marks the entrance to a burial cairn where human remains have been discovered. An excavation campaign in 1980 and 1981 showed that the burial chamber was a late addition to the site, and that it had been modified a number of times.
Local tradition says that giants who lived on the island refused to be converted to Christianity by Saint Kieran and were turned into stone as a punishment. Another local belief says that at sunrise on midsummer morning, the "shining one" walked along the stone avenue, "his arrival heralded by the cuckoo's call." This legend could be a folk memory recalling the astronomical significance of the stones.
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