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Callanish Stones (photo by Chmee2, CCASA 3.0 licence)

Standing with Stones: An epic megalithic journey through Britain and Ireland

If I had the money and time, one thing I would love to do is take a journey around Britain and Ireland visiting ancient megalithic sites. So it’s no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary Standing with Stones when it was released on DVD some 15 years ago now. And now, anyone can, as it’s available in its full 135 minute glory on YouTube (and embedded below for your convenience)!

Written and presented by Rupert Soskin, and directed and produced by Michael Bott, Standing with Stones takes you on a tour of a huge number of megalithic sites, starting in the south of England, up through Wales, across to Ireland and the Isle of Man, then through North England and up into Scotland and the Scottish Isles. (One of the major take aways from the film is that the mystery of megalithic sites isn’t isolated to just a few well-known monuments…there are an astounding number of these monuments dotting the landscape – most of which you’ve probably never heard of.)

One thing that immediately struck me when rewatching the documentary – and I have to say it felt like such a breath of fresh air after the last few years of online ‘debates’ where everyone seems to think they know the truth about every topic – was the humility and honesty in Soskin’s approach of embracing academic knowledge while also feeling free to speculate, but being clear that he is not an expert and viewers should therefore not take any speculative theories as fact:

I’m not an academic and I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have been exploring primitive cultures and prehistoric sites for many years now. The plus side of that is that whilst embracing current archeological knowledge and theories, it does also give me the freedom to offer some contentious ideas from time to time without getting the sack. The downside of that of course is that sometimes I might be talking rubbish, who knows? The purpose of this film is not to give a history lesson about our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestors, but to explore and experience what they left behind, and as we travel across the British Isles maybe we can shed some light on these mysterious places and the people who built them.

Or more succinctly, as he says about the theories surrounding the curious ring-shaped rock at Mên-an-Tol, “people believe all sorts of things but in reality – and you’ll hear it said a lot on this journey – we just don’t have a clue what it was for.”

Anyhow, here’s the full documentary (more information follows below it):

If you enjoy Standing with Stones, you definitely will want to subscribe to Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott’s YouTube channel, The Prehistory Guys, in which they cover a bunch of different fascinating topics from prehistory.

Furthermore, note that they are also now working on creating a YouTube series about ancient megalithic culture right across Europe, Göbekli Tepe to Stonehenge, and are welcoming any support viewers can offer to help them create it:

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