Hill O' Many Stanes

The Hill O' Many Stanes is another ancient site in Caithness which has caused headaches in the archaeological world. Around 200 stones are set in rows going south to north, though they begin to fan out. It is tempting to call it a cemetery seeing as it resembles the styles of our own, but bones have not been found by or under the stones. Maverick engineer Alexander Thom proposed it was a ‘lunar observatory’, but, as usual, we shall never know. They, who went to such effort to arrange these stones, failed to communicate their reasons to those who would come after. Or perhaps this was no failure, but a determined decision.

In Moses’ blessing recorded in Deuteronomy 33, the lawgiver speaks of the descendants of the patriarch Joseph:

And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills… (vv13-15)

What are the moon’s 'precious things'? The lesser light that rules the night is more than just a lovely ornament among the twinkling stars. Its magnetic field reduces solar radiation; the Creator employed the moon’s gravity to reduce the earth’s rotation, keeping 24 hours to the day; our tides are also pulled by its gravity. It is more than just a pretty face, it puts forth precious, useful things. Well might Moses have invoked its forthcomings as a blessing, and well might the ancients of Caithness have dug their observatory, if that they did. The moon is a wonderful blessing to mankind. During those few nights on which we can see it clearly, I thank God for its beautiful, gentle light.

He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down. Psalm 104:19