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51 50 indePendent Or interrelAted reasons for numerous sites in one area Why are so many standing stone sites concentrated around Callanish, and what was the connection between them There are various suggestions. The sites are of different periods, each being constructed as an improvement upon the previous one. Each site was the temple of a branch of the ancient religion, in the same way that each Christian sect has its own churches. Each circle was the focus of a small community. This has been shown to be likely in, for example, the Lands End area. If each small ring was, in episcopalian terms, a parish church, then Callanish itself must have been the cathedral. All the sites were in use at the same time and formed an interdependent complex, perhaps with sightlines between them having astronomical significance. This idea is implicit in the concept of the Callanish diamond opposite, with all the sites being in an area where two ranges of hills relate to the rise and set of the moon at its most extreme southerly position. Callanish still keeps many of its secrets, despite the best efforts of eighteenth and nineteethcentury antiquarians and twentieth century archaeologists and astronomers. The techniques of the future may reveal some of the sites mysteries, but will not destroy the fascination of the Stonehenge of the Hebrides. When the moon at its southernmost extreme rises over the hills of the Sleeping Beauty and sets into the Harris hills, the viewing lines for moonrise and moonset form a diamond, within which all the Callanish sites lie. Could this be the reason why so many sites are found in this area
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