Wassau_Gambia_PC1124The ancient Wassu Stone Circles in Gambia are believed to be burial mounds of Kings and chiefs in ancient times that are over 1,200 years old. Located around Wassu in the Central River Region, they have been dated back to between 750-1000 AD. A local legend has that there is a curse on anyone who disturbs those laid to rest there. This may account as to why they have lasted so long with little human interference. Still some locals come to the site to pray and deposit a small rock on top of a circle stone for good luck.

The stones sizes and circular shapes do vary from 4 to 6 metres across. Though they are burial sites, the stones themselves are of a younger age than the graves. The average height of each stone column is 5 feet 9 inches. The 11 large concentrations of circles have puzzled many a travelers over the centuries and have been the subject of dozens of archaeological excavations since the 1800’s. Under the maintenance and management of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) of  the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of the Gambia, this important heritage site has won international recognition.

 The stones were cut out of laterite that occurs in large quarry outcrops in this region, and then shaped with iron tools into cylindrical or polygonal shapes. A museum situated at the "Stone Circles" in the Wassu Central River Region was opened in 2000. Hundreds of stone circles can be found in The Gambia and Senegambia region. They are part of a geographical grouping of over 1,000 monuments in a wide strip measuring 62 miles wide and along 217 miles of the Gambia River. This sacred site was declared a National Monument in 1995 and in 2006, 93 monuments in the Senegambia region (Sine Ngayène, Wanar) were declared by UNESCO to be World Heritage Sites.

The Wassau Stone Circles are accessible through localized taxi transport. Journey time is about five hours from the Banjul ferry crossing or from the South Bank of the Gambia where no ferry crossing is needed. Both routes will allow travelers to see typical African villages along the way. Janjangbureh is the regional headquarters. It is one of the biggest islands widely known for its great potentials of heritage tourism. This is a town that still maintains its colonial bearing in buildings and other things attributable to that period.  The Stone Circles here continue to puzzle even authorities on the subject of ancient African history.