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Callanish

14 A blAnket Of PeAt is Callanish a restored site By the Iron Age, the climate had deteriorated, and conditions on Lewis were cooler and damper. This resulted in the accumulation of layers of peat, which consists of partially decomposed plant material. By the nineteenth century, much of the island was blanketed in peat to a depth of five or six feet. At Callanish, the stones thus looked much shorter than they do today. This was reflected in John MacCullochs plan of 1819 opposite, which shows a number of fallen stones. At least eight of these are standing today, causing later writers to assume their reerection and to call Callanish a restored site. MacCullochs plan has to be interpreted along with drawings made by Tomkin in 1885, after the peat was cleared but while bleaching of the stones still showed its former depth. Stone 3 had only its top edge exposed in 1819 below and MacCulloch must have thought he was looking at a much smaller stone, lying on its side. Far from being a restored site, it is now obvious that Callanish was protected, over two or three millennia, by enveloping peat.
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