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3 2 An impressive megalith, almost 16 feet tall, stands at the centre, set at one end of a burial chamber. Three rows lead away from the circle, approximately to the east and west, and more precisely to the south. There is also a longer northerly avenue. Three stones are additional to this pattern 9, 34 and 35, opposite. The monument measures 400 feet north to south and 150 feet east to west. To the south is the natural rocky outcrop of Cnoc an Tursa. The standing stones are composed of Lewisian gneiss and may have been transported no more than a mile. The builders probably chose shapes for aesthetic or magical reasons stones with crystalline nodules were especially favoured. As this book reveals, many writers have recorded their opinions about Callanish. However, the motives of those who laboured to create it, perhaps 5000 years ago, may never be known. Its continuing mystery is part of the attraction of the Stonehenge of the Hebrides . Chandler s Ford, 2002 Note Historic Scotland has adopted the spelling Calanais, a Gaelicised version of a name that was never originally Gaelic. The word probably derives from Kallaarnes, which signifies the promontory from which a ferry is called in Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. Great Bernera was formerly reached by ferry from Callanish. Plan above adapted from RCAHMS Inventory, 1928. Stone numbers from Somerville, 1912. Slabs of Cairn not shown, nos. 3640. J. G. Callander s plan, published in the RCAHMS Inventory of 1928
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