Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Stones of Anglesey

Because Anglesey stands out into the Irish Sea it was the landing place for a number of invaders. These people formed part of the early population of Wales. Hence the title affixed to the Menai Suspension Bridge: "Mon Mam Cymru" (Anglesey, Mother of Wales). These ancient people settled in a number of different locations at ifferent dates. Throughout the island there are many, many ancient sites where local people lived and died.

Visitots to South Stack lighthouse can see a signpost on the approach road directing walkers to the right onto the bracken. It points to the Holyhead Mountain Hut Circles. There are the remains of twelve circular hut dwellings. They are quite clear and can be viewed on a number of archaeological websites. Take the road back through Trearddur Bay to the A55 and leave it at the exit for Rhosneigr. Travel along this road, ignoring the right turn to Rhosneigr, until you reach Porth Trecastell or Cable Bay. There is a car park and a sandy beach here. Go to the right of the beach and take the footpath to the headland with the beach and the bay on your left. You will arrive at a manmade mound which covers a Cruciform Passage Grave.

To protect the megaliths inside a concrete roof has been constructed but the essential layout of thye tomb remains the same as ever. The most exciting feature of Barclodiad y Gawres (the name of the tomb)must be its rock art. Several of the chamber stones bear carvings of lozenges, zig zags and spirals, but what makes some of them exceptional is the way the carved shapes are manipulated and shaped with each other to form an overall integrated design. The snag with this tomb is that is well protected with steel gates and the key is obtained at a nearby shop.

Travelling anti clockwise round Anglesey you come to Brynsiencyn. Close by is the village of Landaniel-fab. On the south side of this village there is a sign directing the interested visitor to the ancient site known as Bryn Celli Ddu. This is another passage grave and is thought to be the best example in Wales. The tomb is set in the middle of an ancient henge with a circular ditch round it. The henge is almost certainly older than the tomb. The tomb, following construction, was covered by a huge mound of earth - much larger than the present mound we see today.

Continue along the main road back to the A5. From Llanfairpwll travel round on the A5025 to Lligwy where you can see an ancient burial chamber with the largest capping stone I have ever seen. In this case the chamber is dug down lower than the surrounding ground. This gives the visitor a good view of the magnificent capping stone. A quarter of a mile away is Din Lligwy and to get there you have to pass an old church known as Hen Capel. This too is worth visiting for the history types among you. But eventually you reach Din Lligwy you notice that it is a settlement of varying styles fo architecture. Therre are two round houses as well as other rectangular buiildings. All that remains are walls of up to two feet and it a matter of conjecture what one read into these remains.

All over Anglesey there are countles standing stones. They are, without doubt, very ancient but why there are so positioned and by whom no one knows. I doubt anyone will ever know why standing stones are there but they give an enduring look to the rural scene. They are protected by law and so are likely to remain untouched as a reminder of former people whose name we shall never know.


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