COLUMN: Unlocking the secret of stone circles
Nestled behind stone walls, hidden amid enchanting woodland and atop ancient moors, Derbyshire's stone circles have long been veiled in mystery.
To this day their purpose is argued by academics seeking to uncover exactly why Bronze Age man constructed these mysterious gathering places.
This was an age when the brown bear, Eurasian wolf and wild boar still roamed our land.
Our ancestors were just contending with a transition from hunter gatherer lifestyles to embracing agriculture.
Yet despite the trials they faced, these complex communities also managed to carve great stones from our landscape and use them to construct beguiling and impressive monuments.
Around 26 circles have survived in a recognisable condition across Derbyshire.
From towering pillars to mystical portals and great ceremonial plateaux, every one of these sites has its own unique story to tell.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring some of the most fascinating sites across the county.
We’ll be finding out how the Peaks and Dales became home to some of the most important circles in the country, exploring the myths and legends which grew up around them and examining why they are still sacred to many in our society today.