Astronomical Oddities: Britain's The Castlerigg Stone Circle ''The Cave'' Mystery

Stonehenge is the most famous stone circle in Britain, the Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick in the Lake District, Has to be the most atmospheric. Located in an open bowl between rolling hills, this Megalithic structure appears as a great picture postcard. This is the property of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Romantic poetry; however many millennia earlier, it was home to an equally imaginative race.

The Castlerigg Stone Circle, also known as Keswick Carle or Druid's Circle, is among the oldest in Britain. It was built in approximately 3,000 B.C. and contains 38 stones of different heights put in a slightly oval shape. The largest stone is more than 8 feet tall, but the vast majority of these are less than 5 feet high. Although five of the stones have dropped, it's a website in remarkably good shape.

It includes a feature unique among stone circles in Britain. Within the ring of stones, ten smaller stones are set in a rectangle in an arrangement known as ‘’The Cave’'. There's also a small mound in the middle, which, it's been suggested, is a burial chamber. However, the website hasn't been properly excavated, and perfunctory archaeological studies have uncovered charcoal deposits.

Like Stonehenge, the website has qualities that make it appropriate for use as an astronomical observatory, although an unpolished stone blade located close to the circle suggests it might have been used as a center of trade to the region's Neolithic axe market. There's also a local legend which says that the stones were never constructed to any style, but were really men turned to stone by the fear of a local monster.

In all likelihood, it probably formed a focus for the local community and might have been used for a mix of commercial, religious, and tribal functions. For the time being, we can only admire the magnificent sight of the ancient man-made structure put in a place of exceptional natural beauty.

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