13/09/2017
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Burning the Circle Festival 2017 at Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran

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The Burning the Circle Fire Festival will take place on 23 September 2017, offering members of the public the chance to experience an impressive centrepiece of the celebration of Arran's prehistory.

The festival begins at 7.45pm, when, using a combination of experimental archaeology and live performance called BuildNBurn, the organisers hope to learn about prehistory and provide inspiring memories for people.

The festival centres on two replica prehistoric structures – a timber roundhouse, built with volunteers and run by the local team of  National Trust for Scotland (NTS) rangers for educational events, and a circle of wooden posts up on the hill behind the castle with views across Brodick and the Firth of Clyde. These wooden structures are both based on prehistoric archaeology around Machrie Moor, on the west coast of Arran.

During the week leading up to the festival, archaeologists from Northlight Heritage and the University of Glasgow will work with National Trust for Scotland Thistle Camp Volunteers to build further timber structures inspired by prehistoric sites on the Isle of Arran.

Understanding prehistory

One of the BuildNBurn team, Dr Kenneth Brophy, an archaeologist from the University of Glasgow, said: “One of the best ways to understand what it was like to live in prehistory is to get out there and do prehistoric stuff. BuildNBurn is our way of doing this.

"Our third Burning the Circle festival in Arran will be our biggest yet, and we hope those who get involved will learn more about Neolithic and Bronze Age lifeways, but also witness a memorable and spectacular fire festival”.

Burning the Circle event details

The fiery spectacular will be starting around 7.45 pm on 23 September and is free to attend. The theme this year is still shrouded in secrecy, but by the time of the festival the timber circle will have grown and been joined by new structures and posts.

This year, there is a ticketed special package of activities for those who would like to make a weekend of it, starting on the Friday evening with a special gathering at the roundhouse and storytelling. On the Saturday there will be a chance to work closely with leadingprehistoric craft specialists, including Graham Taylor (Potted History) making Grooved Ware pottery, Neil Burridge casting bronze swords (Bronze Age Craft), and James Dilley (Ancient Crafts) knapping flint.

Find out more about the weekend package on Facebook, or book tickets at YAT. Follow the event at @TeamBuildNBurn #BurningTheCircle3

Finally, on the Sunday there will be a chance to go on some walking tours with an archaeological theme. Weekend tickets include a prehistoric buffet on the Saturday, and optional access to our camping site in the grounds of Brodick Castle.

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