Nomas* Projects / Art, Dundee

June, 2024

The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle

In 1934 Dundonian Alexander Keiller bought land and property around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire with his wealth from managing the family fortune of Keiller Dundee Orange Marmalade. His intention was to spend his marmalade fortune resetting and realigning Avebury Stone Circle, the largest Neolithic stone circle in the world. Unbeknown to Keiller, the rearranging of this major monument had significant effects across the neolithic sites of Britain, with the outlying stone circles of Scotland manifesting an incremental and detrimental impact. As a centre where neolithic measurements of time and distance were regulated across Britain, the resetting of the Avebury stones knocked the alignment of this nationwide meteorological timepiece from the Megalithic Yard of 2.72 feet (0.83 metres) to 2.7425 feet (0.8359 metres). These adjustments by Keiller, which initially appeared quite insignificant, revealed localised energy spots across the country, now experienced as “megalithic portals”. Subsequent events dispersed any notions of pastoral innocence the stone circles held in our imagination, instantly attracting acolytes of the reinstated Druidic tradition, The Kibbo Kift, spiritual quests, Solstice Festivals, New Age Travellers, raves and gatherings. However, it was the stone circles furthest away from Avebury which revealed the most extreme effects from this resetting. Particularly evident at several stone circles in North-East Scotland was a violent energy more akin to trauma, events which distinguished the North-East circles from their southern counterparts. These disturbances influenced Dr Evelin Leighton of St. Andrews University to undertake a twenty-year archaeological watching brief at The Balgarthno Neolithic stone circle in Menzieshill, Dundee due to some of the nine stones being found to move from the original site, causing some disruption across the city. 1 The original decommissioned bear cage from Camperdown Zoo erected around the stone circle in 1995 by Dundee Council displayed little effect as the movement of individual stones was both unpredictable and indecipherable. Dr Leighton’s research however, indicated that each year the Balgarthno stones appeared to be on a slow trajectory towards Keiller’s family home in the west end. Dundonians were understandably concerned, as only they knew what a magic circle was.

For a fuller account of this event and other related phenomena, see Leighton E. The North-Eastern Antiquarian: a Compendium of Archaeological and Anthropological Arcana, St Andrews, Alba Academic Press 2020.


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