The Dargill Standing Stone near the A822 Crieff - Muthill Road 







 Most of us  have  passed this ubiquitous  stone  standing solitary guard as you enter the town . The Dargill or MacLaren's  stone has been around for  some 6 000 years and is older than  the Pyramids of Egypt.

Archaeological investigation over the years has  revealed more of its origins than one would have imagined . In 1911 archaeologist FR Coles  revealed that two similar  stones had  been removed two years earlier in 1909 . The  existing stone stands 2.4 metres high ( 7 '10" )and is almost square in cross section ( 1.5 x 1.2 metres at base . ) Aerial photographs show crop marks  that suggest the standing stone was once  part of a complex landscape . There are four large pits  near the stone and to the east of it are smaller pits  arranged in a  circle with a diameter  of some 40 metres .Coles  suggested in 1911 that this was  the remains of a stone circle and that the large pits represent sockets  for further  standing stones ..

There is a comparative abundance in this part of Strathearn of  stone  circles - at Fowlis Wester , Comrie  and  Auchterarder . Why were they built by the ancient inhabitants ? We really don't know but learned  opinion comes up with a variety of thesis .

The sites rarely encompass graves and could have been constructed for ceremonies . What these  ceremonies  were  we do not know . Another hypothesis is that they were constructed to appease the supposed spirits dwelling in nature .The crudeness  and variety of the stones tends  to exclude  the possibility that they had any astronomical observation purposes  of any precision . Sometimes  a stone  circle is  found in association with a burial pit  or burial chamber but the great majority of these monuments  have no such association .

it is important that we  protect  these  ancient  monuments . Many have gone over the last few centuries including the one standing  next to the Cursus and  west of the new Primary School .

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