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The surviving '''Standing Stones of Stenness''' form an impressive [[Neolithic]] monument on the mainland of [[Orkney]], [[Scotland]], sited on a promontory at the south bank of the stream that joins the southern ends of the sea loch [[Loch of Stenness]] and the freshwater loch [[Loch of Harray]]. The name, pronounced ''stane-is'', comes from [[Old Norse]] meaning ''stone headland''. The stream is now bridged, but at one time was crossed by a stepping stone causeway, and the [[Ring of Brodgar]] lies about 1.2 km (3/4 mile) away to the north-west, across the stream and near the tip of the isthmus formed between the two lochs. [[Maeshowe]] chambered cairn is about 1.2 km (3/4 mile) to the east of the Standing Stones of Stenness and several other Neolithic monuments also lie in the vicinity, suggesting that this area had particular importance.
The stones are thin slabs, approximately 300 mm (1 ft) thick. Four, up to about 5 m (16 ft) high, were originally elements of an elliptical shaped stone circle of 12 stones, about 32 m (104 ft) diameter, on a levelled platform of 44 m (144 ft) diameter surrounded by a ditch. The ditch is cut into rock by as much as 2 m (7 ft) depth and is 7 m (23 ft) wide, surrounded by an earth bank, with a single entrance causeway on the north side. The entrance faces towards the [[Neolithic]] [[Barnhouse Settlement]] which has been found adjacent to the Loch of Harray. The Watch Stone stands outside the circle to the north-west and is 5.6 m (18 ft) high. Other smaller stones include a square stone setting in the centre of the circle platform where cremated bone, charcoal and pottery were found, and animal bones were found in the ditch. The pottery links the monument to [[Skara Brae]] and Maeshowe, and the site is thought to date from at least
Even in the 18th century the site was still associated with traditions and rituals, by then relating to Norse gods. It was visited by [[Walter Scott]] in
* Scotland Before History - Stuart Piggott, Edinburgh University Press 1982, ISBN -
* Scotland's Hidden History - Ian Armit, Tempus (in association with Historic Scotland) 1998, ISBN 0-7486-6067-4
* Guide to Prehistoric Scotland - Richard Feachem, B.T.Batsford Ltd. 1977, ISBN 0-7134-3264-0