Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales reveals a new secret

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Bryn Celli Ddu
Before the excavation of Bryn Celli Ddu

This article is based on a report which appeared on the walesonline.co.uk website on 18 July 2018.

Archaeologists in North Wales have discovered a 4,000-year-old ancient monument which lies right next to the Neolithic passage tomb of Bryn Celli Ddu in Anglesey. (See article https://www.hunebednieuwscafe.nl/2017/01/bryn-celli-ddu-burial-chamber/)

Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu or the “Mound in the Dark Grove”

During the last four years archaeologists have been excavating an adjacent site which indicates that there was a complex of monuments in the area, dating back 4,000 years to the Bronze Age. The new discoveries consist of a Bronze Age burial cairn and a circle of pits.

Before the excavation
Bryn Celli Ddu
After the excavation

Dr Ben Edwards, senior lecturer in archaeology and heritage at Manchester Metropolitan University, is part of the team working on the project. He said: “The carbon dating of the cairn is around 1800 BC but I suspect it dates back to a few hundred years older than that. The big thing is that it shows 1,000 years of continuous human occupation on the site”.

Dr Edwards added: “There is original Bronze Age soil beneath the cairn … and the geophysical survey suggests that there are other prehistoric monuments waiting to be discovered”. The area shows evidence of at least two phases of development and was probably part of a ceremonial landscape with a complex of cairns, burial chambers and other prehistoric monuments which would have been used by the whole community.

The site is also fascinating because of the style of many of the monuments. Dr Edwards said: “Interestingly this is not a typically British monument. It is much more like what you find in Ireland”. At that time, people were communicating around the Irish Sea. With little in the way of roads, the ocean was the speedier option for travel. “Remember, back then you were travelling mainly through partially cleared forest so the sea was the easiest mode of transportation.”

The project is being led by the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Cadw, University of Central Lancashire and Manchester Metropolitan University, along with members of the local community and archaeology students.

Text     Alun Harvey

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