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Side view of the south-eastern chamber looking south-west
The University of Bristol News reports on the complex prehistoric patterns discovered around the site of ancient Welsh burial chamber –
A team of archaeologists, led by a researcher from the University of Bristol, has uncovered the remains of a possible Stonehenge-type prehistoric earthwork monument in a field in Pembrokeshire.
Members of the Welsh Rock art Organisation have been investigating the area around the Neolithic burial chamber known as Trellyffaint – one of a handful of sites in western Britain that has examples of prehistoric rock art.
The site of Trellyffaint dates back at least 6,000 years and has been designated a Scheduled Monument. It is in the care of Welsh heritage agency Cadw. The site comprises two stone chambers – one of which is relatively intact. Each chamber is set within the remains of an earthen cairn or mound which, due to ploughing regimes over the centuries, have been slowly uncovered.
More here.

Excavations at Carn Goedog (photo Mike Pitts)

Source: Have archaeologists found Stonehenge quarries?


View of the Great Orme’s limestone cliffs from the former lighthouse
Image credit FinnWikiNo. Source Wikimedia Commons

Cahal Milmo, writing for The Independent, reports on the National Trust’s purchase of 140-acres at the Great Orme archaeological site in North Wales –

A chunk of the Great Orme, the imposing limestone headland on the North Wales coast which is home to Britain’s largest prehistoric mine and a herd of Kashmiri goats acquired from Queen Victoria, has been secured by the National Trust. The £1m purchase of a large farm on the promontory overlooking the resort of Llandudno is the latest acquisition by the Trust’s 50-year-old Neptune campaign to protect special areas of coastline under threat of development.

The 140-acre Parc Farm will now be managed to promote the Orme’s status as one of Britain’s most important botanical sites as well as an area rich in archaeology, including the underground workings of the biggest Bronze Age copper mine in the UK.

Full article here.


Carn Wnda Cromlech (Dolmen), Pembrokeshire, Wales
The Heritage Trust
Did Neolithic people have hierarchies? Almost certainly. Writing in the New Historian, Irina Slav, reports that –
A study by two Spanish anthropologists has yielded a hypothesis that communities in the late Neolithic and Chalcolithic ages were already starting to stratify, based on the examination of seven megalithic burial structures. According to Teresa Fernandez-Crespo and Concepcion de la Rua from the UPV/EHU University of the Basque Country, the gender and age characteristics of those buried in megalithic structures suggest some members of the community were selected for such burial while others were excluded.
Full article here.
One of two gold lock-rings worn as either ear-rings or to gather together hair
Image credit Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales)
A press release by Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) reports –
A Late Bronze Age hoard of two gold artefacts, which are thought to be dated to around 1000-800 BC, or 3,000-2,800 years ago, have today (26th March 2015) been declared treasure by H.M. Coroner for North East Wales. The hoard of two gold penannular rings, which are personal ornaments known as lock-rings, were discovered in the Community of Rossett in June 2012 and March 2013 by Mr. John Adamson. The artefacts were found in the same area of a field while Mr. Adamson was metal detecting on farm land. The artefacts, once buried all together as a hoard group, had been disturbed and separated, probably through a recent drainage ditch clearing event. 
The discoveries were reported at different times to Vanessa Oakden and Elizabeth Stewart, Finds Liaison Officers for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, based at National Museums Liverpool, and were subsequently reported on by museum archaeologists at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The lock-rings are made of sheet gold. Their similar size (each approximately 3.5cm in diameter and 8-9g in weight) and decoration suggest they were once worn as a pair. Their circular faces have been expertly decorated with series of incised parallel and circular rings, providing an eye-catching decorative effect. They were once bi-conical in shape, but have since become crushed and distorted in the ground.
The lock-rings will be acquired by Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives following their independent valuation.
Full Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) press release here.
We’re often asked where the megalithic tomb (which we use for our banner image) is located. The tomb (of the sub-megalithic type) is located north of Whitesands Bay at St Davids Head, Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales and is known as Coetan Arthur. Here’s a full frame photo of the tomb.
Coetan Arthur sub-megalithic tomb
The Heritage Trust
Another taken with Whitesands Bay in the background
The Heritage Trust
And another with Carn Llidi in the distance
The Heritage Trust

Rising from ruins. Pentre Ifan as it may have originally looked
The third in a new series of videos that use CGI technology to restore some of Wales’s most iconic landmarks to their former glory. This video gives you an idea of how Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber in Pembrokeshire would have looked when it was first built.
For more information, visit
Dyma’r trydydd mewn cyfres newydd o fideos sy’n defnyddio technoleg CGI i adfer rhai o dirnodau mwyaf eiconig Cymru i’w hen ogoniant.Mae’r fideo’n rhoi syniad i chi sut byddai Siambr Gladdu Pentre Ifan yn Sir Benfro wedi edrych pan gafodd ei hadeiladu am y tro cyntaf.
I gael rhagor o wybodaeth, ewch i
Pentre Ifan today
The Heritage Trust
The Bryn Celli Ddu chambered tomb on Anglesey, Wales. Source: Wikipedia Commons
Burial chambers dating back to the third millennium BC will be the setting for a series of events to celebrate the Summer Solstice as part of a project led by Cadw and the Arts Council of Wales.
The project ‘Horizons: Old and New’ will centre around Barclodiad-y-Gawres, one of the most significant Neolithic passage tombs in the British Isles and the impressive chambered tomb, Bryn Celli Ddu. The project will culminate on the weekend of the Summer Solstice (Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22) with a series of events including a dawn celebration at Bryn Celli Ddu, hosted by the Anglesey Druid Order (around 4.30am on June 21).
Details here.
Maen Llia
Image credit: Immanuel Giel. Source Wikimedia Commons
Heritage of Wales News announces that tomorrow (Saturday, 3 May) –
David Leighton, an expert in uplands archaeology from the Royal Commission will be leading a guided walk around Fan Llia and Fan Dringarth in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. In a quiet area for walking, well hidden from more popular routes, this picturesque moorland walk is notable for monuments of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date, which can be seen along the route. Notable highlights of the walk include a massive block of sandstone and one of the largest prehistoric standing stones in South Wales at Maen Llia (NPRN: 84541), and the old toll road and possibly the line of the Roman road, Sarn Helen (NPRN: 407122), as well as the extensive remains of numerous historic period settlement sites in the Nant y Gaseg Valley.
Details here.

Heritage of Wales News announces that –

On Wednesday, 9 April, there will be a rare opportunity to purchase a wide range of books, journals, maps and guidebooks, relating to archaeology, architecture and the built heritage. There will be over 1000 titles in this sale of surplus and duplicate stock from the Royal Commission’s library in Aberystwyth. Titles include a complete set of Archaeologia Cambrensis and other standard archaeology journals, numerous off-prints, books on pre-history, the Romans, industrial archaeology, Gwent and Glamorgan County Histories, and other historical and archaeological volumes and much more. There will also be a selection of O.S. 6-inch maps of various editions, a small collection of 1:10,000 and Landranger maps. Selected current Royal Commission publications will also be on offer with a discount of up to 30%. Information Services Manager, Penny Icke, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to acquire hard to find and often out-of-print historical and archaeological material.
More here.
Perthi Duon in 1802 by the Reverend John Skinner
The University of Bristol has announced the excavation of a 3,500bce chambered tomb on the Welsh island of Anglesey –
An archaeological excavation of Ynys Môn’s least known Neolithic chambered tomb – Perthi Duon, west of the village of Brynsiencyn on Anglesey – has begun. The work is being carried out by a team from the Welsh Rock Art Organisation under the direction of Dr George Nash of the University of Bristol and Carol James.
Perthi Duon, considered to be the remains of a portal dolmen, is one of eighteen extant stone chambered monuments that stand within a 1.5 km corridor of the Menai Straits. The antiquarian Henry Rowlands reports in 1723 that beneath the large capstone were three stones, possibly upright stones or pillars. However, by the beginning of the nineteenth century the monument was in a ruinous state, incorporated into a north-south hedge boundary, itself now removed. Perthi Duon was visited by the Reverend John Skinner, parish vicar and amateur archaeologist, during his ten day tour of Anglesey in 1802.  He sketched the site, then called Maen Llhuyd, and described how its cap stone and three supporters remained on the spot but had “long since been thrown prostate on the ground”.
More here.
Pentre Ifan
The Heritage Trust
Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales, has announced a six-week consultation period on a new proposal for the Heritage Bill –
Between 2006 and 2012, Cadw received reports of 119 cases of unlawful damage to scheduled ancient monuments in Wales. However, there has been only one successful prosecution under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 in the last 25 years.
A number of respondents to last year’s consultation on proposals for the historic environment, ‘The future of our past’, expressed concerns about the rarity of successful prosecutions. Some called for changes to the Act’s permitted defence of ignorance of the status or location of a monument to make it easier to secure convictions for illegal damage.
Accordingly, the Welsh Government would now like to receive your views on a proposal to amend the offences and defences in the 1979 Act to modify the ‘ignorance defence’.
More details on the proposal are contained in a consultation document, which is available, along with a response form, on the consultation pages of the Welsh Government website.
More here.
NB The Heritage Trust operates a Cared for Ratings accreditation scheme which awards a site a maximum of five stars for how well the site is cared for (see our rating and recommendations for Pentre Ifan here for example). This includes nearby parking facilities, wheelchair access, signage, rest areas, general maintenance etc. If you would like to submit a site for inclusion in the scheme please send details and images to us at

The Trefael Stone

BBC News South West Wales reports yesterday that a ritual burial site in Pembrokeshire may have been in use 10,000 years ago – almost twice as far back as expected –

The Trefael Stone near Nevern was reclassified as a Stone Age burial chamber after its capstone was studied. But a three-year dig [headed Dr George Nash] has since found beads dating back much further, perhaps to the Neolithic or Mesolithic periods.

For centuries the Trefael standing stone was largely disregarded as just one of hundreds of similar Bronze Age monuments. Yet closer analysis of its distinctive cup marks now indicate that they loosely match the pattern of stellar constellations. This would only make sense if, rather than standing upright, it had originally been laid flat as a capstone which would have once been supported by a series of upright stones.

Dr Nash believes the Trefael Stone in fact topped a Neolithic burial chamber, probably a portal dolmen, which is one of western Britain’s earliest burial monument types. “Many years ago Trefael was considered just a simple standing stone lying in a windswept field, but the excavation programme has proved otherwise,” he said. “It suggests that Trefael once lay in the heart of a ritualised landscape that was in operation for at least 5-6,000 years.

Full article here. See also the Welsh Rock-art Organization (WRAO) and our earlier features here and here.


Detail of the 15th century St George and the Dragon tableaux in St Cadoc’s Church, Llancarfan, Wales
St Cadoc’s in Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales appears to be just another little village church. Established on the site of a much earlier 7th century monastery, and founded around 1,200ce, the church is now causing something of a sensation after the discovery in 2007 of a thin line of red paint on one of the interior walls. A team of experts were subsequently called in to investigate and to see what else might be hidden behind the twenty layers of limewash that had accumulated on the walls over the centuries.
After five years of painstaking work, and sometimes exposing little more than one square inch of painting an hour, conservators working on the walls have revealed an astonishing array of 15th century murals; among them St George and the Dragon, the Seven Deadly Sins, portraits and an extraordinary painting of a corpse with worms and toads crawling out of its body as it leads a young man into the graveyard via a window. What is unusual about this painting is that the young man is painted on one wall and the corpse on another wall at a different angle – a clever use of three dimensional illusion.
Watch the BBC News Magazine video  of the paintings here. See also our features on the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering, North Yorkshire and St Mary’s Church, Bartlow, Cambridgeshire.
The Carn Wnda earthfast tomb, Pembrokeshire Wales
The Heritage Trust
Digital Past 2014
New technologies in heritage, interpretation and outreach.
Heritage of Wales News has announced that –
Digital Past is a two-day conference showcasing innovative digital technologies for data capture, interpretation and dissemination of heritage sites and artefacts. Running for the sixth year, Digital Past 2014 will be set in the seaside town of Llandudno, and offers a combination of papers, seminars and handson workshops and demonstrations to investigate the latest technical survey and interpretation techniques and their practical application in heritage interpretation, education and conservation.
The conference will be of value to anyone working in or studying the archaeological, heritage, education and museums sectors, and is designed to allow informal networking and exchange of ideas within a friendly and diverse audience made up of individuals from commercial, public and third-sector organisations. Open House sessions will also give the opportunity for display and demonstration of projects or products, and the chance to talk to heritage organisations, product developers and retailers.
Venue: 12-13 February 2014 at St George’s Hotel, Llandudno, North Wales. Details here.


June 2022
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