The best known tradition of stone circle construction occurred across the British Isles and Brittany in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, with over 1000 examples still surviving to this day, including famous examples like Avebury, the Rollright Stones and Stonehenge. Another prehistoric stone circle tradition occurred in southern Scandinavia during the Iron Age, where they were built to be mortuary monuments to the dead.
Outside of Europe, stone circles have also been erected, such as the Bronze Age examples from Hong Kong.
The size and number of the stones varies from example to example, and the circle shape can be an ellipse.
Photo Johnny Leo Johansen(c) Hunnfeltet Fredrikstad Norway
In Scandinavia, there was a tradition of making stone circles during the Iron Age and especially in Götaland. The appearance of these circles in northern Poland is considered to be a characteristic of the migrating Goths (see Stone Circle (Iron Age) and Wielbark Culture).
There was a separate period of stone circle building from the eighth to the twelfth century in West Africa. The best known are the Senegambian stone circles, built as funerary monuments, with more than a thousand known. Other stone circles can be found on the Adrar Plateau in Mauritania.
A stone semicircle, comprising seven 600 kilogram megaliths, has been discovered in the drowned neolithic village of Atlit Yam in the Mediterranean Sea about 1 kilometre off the shore of the Israeli city of Haifa. The stones had cupmarks carved into them and were arranged around a freshwater spring, which suggests they may have been used for a water ritual.
“Megalithic” stone circles are also found in Hong Kong, see Stone Circles
This field has also been just by Norse mythology-Neo-Nazist Vigrid for ininitiation ceremonies.