Iron Age studies in Britain operate in a world populated by roundhouses. Post-ring evidence is generally interpreted in domestic contexts. However, research on later prehistoric roundhouses in north-east Scotland has identified a small yet significant number of round structures in unusual locations, with unusual architectural details and a distinct lack of domestic material. Some of these relate to Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age stone circles, for which Richard Bradley’s work in the wider region has highlighted progressive biographies of construction and reuse. This paper, rooted in architectural design theory, selects a particular case study – the multiple timber post-rings at Candle Stane (in Aberdeenshire) – to highlight the complexities in interpreting these fascinating and enigmatic buildings. The architectural approach develops alternative reconstructions that lead to new perspectives on later prehistoric architecture as event-based and concerned with process. These processes only gradually lead to an architectural end-product, which displays distinctly non-domestic connotations. The research not only highlights the usefulness of data derived from rescue work for academic study, but the advocated approach of reconstructing in alternatives also lends itself to developing innovative approaches in Higher Education to teach visual competence.