Balfarg Henge

Rather incongruously, Balfarg Henge now provides a central focus to the streets of Balfarg, a northeastern residential suburb of Glenrothes in Fife. This monument comprises a large flat circular area, surrounded by a ditch some 60m (197 feet) in diameter. Originally comprising rings of massive upright timbers and stone, two standing stones remain, one 2m (6 feet 7 inches) high that was probably one of a pair set in the entrance-gap, and another, 1.6m (5 feet 3 inches) high, which formed part of a ring. The site was excavated 1977-78 to reveal grave pits, a timber ring that was 25m (82 feet) in diameter and artefacts including broken pottery.

The site appears to have developed in a several phases. The first signs of occupation was in the Early Neolithic period (c. 4000 BC) evidenced by pottery. Around 3000 BC pits were dug which contain grooved ware pottery, charcoal and bone, which have been interpreted as cremation burials. The henge was developed around 2800 BC, when the timber ring was erected and the surrounding ditch was dug with the earth removed piled outside it to form an embankment which hid the interior of the complex from those outside. Access was across a causeway which led over the ditch from the west. The stone circle was built in the Late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age (around 2400 BC). The beaker-accompanied burial of man aged about 20 took place around 2000 BC in the centre of the site. This was covered by a rock slab weighing two tons, which can still be seen today, while a flint knife was found in the grave. Cooking pits appeared to the east of the henge about 1800 BC.

It was originally planned that the monument would be destroyed by the development of housing, but it was instead decided to incorporate the site within the development. The earthwork and stones have been restored, while modern posts mark the position of the timber ring. Balfarg Henge forms part of a ritual complex with Balbirnie Stone Circle and Balfarg Riding School Henge.

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