New Evidence from Bryn Yr Hen Bobl, Llanedwen, Anglesey

Article excerpt

Bryn yr Hen Bobl (NGR SH 5185 6900) is a large Neolithic chambered cairn lying in pasture and parkland on the west side of the Plas Newydd estate, Anglesey. The site was most recently excavated by W.J. Hemp (1929-1934) (Hemp 1936; Lynch 1969: 161-2; Gresham 1985: 225-7). The oval cairn is approximately 40 m long, 30 m wide and nearly 5 m in height. On its south side is a unique `terrace', a c. 90-m long drystone structure which was bonded to the cairn walling. The earlier excavations produced an assemblage of early and middle Neolithic material culture. This interim statement describes discoveries at the site during the first phase of a detailed re-evaluation of the monument.

New aerial photographs of Bryn yr Hen Bobl were taken as part of RCAHMW's programme of scheduled ancient monument monitoring for Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. The chambered cairn was overflown on 10 January 1999, half an hour after sunrise. FIGURE 1 was taken from the north and shows the wooded mound of the chambered cairn in the foreground with the terrace extending to the south. The surface and edges of the terrace appear irregular. Two short banks connected to the east side of the terrace appear to form two sides of a square enclosure, although they may be spoil tips resulting from earlier excavations. The most striking discovery was the recognition of a second bank. The air photographs show this as a linear feature running parallel to the terrace, connected to it at the south end by a cross-bank. It may be that the surface earthworks of the two banks or terraces were modified at a later date to form two sides of an elongated rectilinear enclosure. The shape of the bank may have been further modified during its use as a headland at the edge of the ridge and furrow cultivation visible abutting its east side.


FIGURE 2 shows the results of a resistivity survey carried out during July 1999 and is lettered for the following description. The interpretations offered below are provisional. The cairn (A) appears to be surrounded by a ditch (C) with an additional quarry pit (G). The terrace (B) is seen as less uniform in construction than previously supposed. The terrace, together with the newly discovered bank (F), is also part of a larger, D-shaped enclosure. Additional features include a possible new round cairn (H), a trapezoidal ditched enclosure (I) and concentric ditches (O1-O4). …