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Home | Dyffryn Ardudwy. Neolithic Burial Chambers
The Dyffryn Ardudwy and Bron y Foel Isaf burial chambers near Barmouth ,Wales.




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The eastern burial chamber at dyffryn.
[ the dyffryn chambers ]  [ bron y foel isaf ] [ location ]



An overall view of the site showing both chambers and the cairn stones.

The date is estimated at c.3500 B.C.



This site excavated in 1960 was one of the first sites where multi period building was recognised, and has become central to the understanding of the portal dolmen group in this country and in Ireland.
Portal dolmens form the most common type of tomb in this region. They stood at the centre of the farmed land,a focus for the community like a parish church, and many of them are striking and daring examples of architecture and engineering. The western chamber here is a beautiful monument and one of the most classic in design. The current belief that they are amongst the earliest tombs built in these islands is largely the result of the excavations here at Dyffryn.
The monument consists of a roughly rectangular cairn containing two chambers facing up the hill. The western one is the earlier of the two. It is a small structure with an H-shaped portal with a high closing slab, a rectangular chamber and sloping capstone - all typical features of the portal dolmen. It was covered by a small, circular cairn held back from the forecourt area by drystone walls running up to the entrance stones.



The western chamber.
           
                 

The base of the cairn and these forecourt walls can be easily seen. Within the forecourt was a pit containing deliberately broken pottery, a ceremonial offering in front of the tomb. This pottery, like the design of the tomb itself, showed many similarities to contemporary Irish material. There is a cupmark on the inner face of the north portal stone.




The later eastern chamber is much larger but less classic in design. It does not have the high entrance stones, but the front has a portal area defined by projecting sidestones and a low (broken) closing slab. In front of this was a squarish forecourt which had been carefully blocked or filled in by pitched stones set against the closing slab and by a low bank built across it further out. This blocking covered offerings of pottery in a slightly later style than those from the western chamber. When the eastern chamber was built, the large rectangular cairn which covered it engulfed the western chamber and its round cairn.
There were no bones surviving in the western chamber, and those in the eastern chamber came from a Bronze Age cremation burial put into the chamber at a later date. Two small finely polished plaques made from Mynydd Rhiw stone were found in the eastern chamber; their purpose is unknown.



The eastern chamber.
       







Below are pictures of the Bron y Foel Isaf Burial Chamber.
This site is just a few miles from the Dyffryn site.

       


This is a badly damaged tomb, almost certainly the remains of a portal dolmen. One sidestone , a low backstone and the large slipped capstone survive.

Although it is so badly damaged it is worth a visit because the view is magnificent and the capstone is impressive.


Location:
Dyffryn Ardudwy Chambers.
OS 124 SH 588228 U2
The site is at the south end of Dyffryn Ardudwy village, signposted on left just before the school. Site is up short footpath with kissing gates, just a few hundred yards from the main coast road.

Bron y Foel Isaf.
OS 124 SH 607246 U1
From Dyffryn Ardudwy village, go north on A496 and turn right after hotel; persevere up hill for 1.3 mile; at complex crossroads take right hand road to Bron y Foel. Turn right just before the farm; tomb is in roadside wall, 160yards on the right. The last 1/4 mile or so involves opening and closing a few gates.




Visit the next site.
Bwllch y Ddeufaen standing stones

Capel Garmon Burial Chamber

For holiday breaks including accommodation close to these and other Standing Stones, Stone Circles and Burial Chambers in North Wales please contact
the Bryn Holcombe Hotel.


Visit the
walesdirectory home page for links to other interesting Welsh historical sites.


Acknowledgement: A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales. Gwynedd. Frances Lynch.
HMSO Publications.

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