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VII.—The Chambered Cairn of Bryn Celli Ddu

  • W. J. Hemp

The monument to be described lies in the parish of Llanddaniel Fab in Anglesey, the latitude being 53° 12′ 26″, and the longitude 4° 14′ 6.″ It is a large circular single-chambered cairn, originally about 160 ft. in diameter, and at least 12 to 14 ft. high. The site is at the end of a low ridge of glacial moraine 500 ft. from a small stream known as the Braint, a mile distant from the Menai Straits and 100 ft. above sea-level. Closely adjoining the cairn is the base of a second (see p. 212).

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page 179 note 1 Probably much more. La Hougue Bie, with a diameter of about 200 ft., now has a height of 40 ft., and was probably at least 10 ft, higher; and New Grange has a diameter of about 300 ft. and a height of about 45 ft.

page 179 note 2 Rowlands, Henry, Mona Antiqua Restaurata, 1723, p. 93 and Plate VII, figs. 3, 4.

page 179 note 3 Wyndham, H. P., A Tour through Monmouthshire and Wales, 2nd edition, 1781, p. 139.

page 180 note 1 Pennant, T., A Tour in Wales, 1784, ii, p. 262.

page 180 note 2 Skinner, J., Ten Days' Tour through the Island of Anglesey, Arch. Camb. Supplement, 1908, p. 25.

page 181 note 1 Capt. Lukis considered that stone 17, then barely visible, was a second pillar.

page 181 note 2 Probably seventeen, see p. 182.

page 181 note 3 Presumably the ‘big stones’ were those of circle 2, and this the occasion of their mutilation.

page 181 note 4 Stones 4 and 6.

page 182 note 1 Trans. Hon. Soc. Cymmrodorion, 1910–11, p. 20.

page 183 note 1 Arch. Camb., 1847, p. 6.

page 183 note 2 J. Skinner, loc. cit., p. 24.

page 184 note 1 Ritual pillar stones were also found in the cairns at New Grange and Carrowkeel (Macalister, R. A. S., Ireland in Pre-Celtic Times, Dublin, 1921, p. 353), and, carved in the rock, in one of the tomb caves in Mallorca (W. J. Hemp, Archaeologia, lxxvi, 141).

page 184 note 2 Arch. Camb., 1927, p. 3.

page 184 note 3 Société Jersiaise, Bulletin Annuel, 1925, plates.

page 184 note 4 p. 142.

page 188 note 1 The use of clay, combined with walling, in cairns has been recorded previously, e.g. in Caithness (A. J. H. Edwards in Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., lxiii, p. 143) and Yorkshire (J. R. Mortimer, Forty Years' Researches, xxi and xl).

page 188 note 2 Dr. Joseph Anderson, Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xix, p. 341; the bench, however, is not recorded. Prof. V. G. Childe tells me that similar benches, also unrecorded, exist in the chambered cairn of Taversoë Tuick in Rousay, Orkney (ibid., xxxvii, p. 73).

page 189 note 1 W. J. Hemp, Archaeologia, lxxvi, pp. 126, 128.

page 189 note 2 R. A. S. Macalister and others, Proc. R. Irish Acad., xxix, p. 333.

page 189 note 3 Jersiaise, Société, Bulletin Annuel, X (1925), pp. 215–16.

page 190 note 1 At La Hougue Bie the blocking similarly stopped at a point otherwise marked by the raising of the roof (loc. cit., p. 209).

page 191 note 1 At several points, e.g. between stones 8 and 10 in the passage, the dry walling filling the intervals between upright stones was laid horizontally above ground-level, but perpendicularly below.

page 195 note 1 The small size of the post-holes suggests that they may have carried the uprights of a screen of wattle.

page 195 note 2 Ox vertebrae were ceremonially disposed in the Carrowkeel cairn, which contained a ritual pillar (Proc. R. Irish Acad., xxix, pp. 343, 346).

page 196 note 1 The writer hopes that some day it may be possible to provide artificial lighting and to fill in the missing section of the mound.

page 196 note 2 See Appendix II.

page 197 note 1 It is not unusual to find the patterns on megalithic tombs so placed that they would be invisible after the completion of the monument; e.g. the cup marks on the cover-stones of dolmens, the patterned stones at New Grange, one of the uprights at La Hougue Bie, and other instances in Brittany such as Gavr Inis.

page 198 note 1 ‘Pocked lines’, no. 2, in Mr. Burkitt's chronological sequence of techniques; see Ipek, 1926, p. 52, ‘Notes on the art upon certain megalithic monuments in Ireland’.

page 198 note 2 le Rouzic, M. et E. Péquart et Z., Corpus des Signes gravés des Monuments Mégalithiques du Morbihan, Paris, 1927.

page 198 note 3 Coffey, G., New Grange, Dublin, 1912; E. A. Conwell, Proc. R. Irish Academy, xv, 72; W. Frazer, Proc. Soc. Ant., Scotland, xxvii, 294.

page 201 note 1 The wall has a definite termination here, and could not have been continuous with the bench within the chamber.

page 202 note 1 It is likely that the stone was phallic. Mr. T. Lethbridge has since (July 1930) discovered a similar stone 8½ in. long set in a small pit in a hut on Gateholm Island (Arch. Camb., 1930, p. 370).

page 208 note 1 Evidence of fire has been recorded on many other similar sites, e. g. by Mr. Coffey at New Grange (loc. cit., p. 14); it was observed at Capel Garmon (Arch. Camb., 1927, p. 24) and at Belas Knap and other Cotswold Long Barrows (The Long Barrows of the Cotswolds, pp. 79, 133,142), while the ‘vase supports’ found in La Hougue Bie also show marks of fire.

page 210 note 1 Fox, Dr. Cyril, Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1926, p. 80.

page 211 note 1 W. J. Hemp, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, i, p. 355.

page 211 note 2 Dr. Thurnam records that in a large proportion of the long barrows he opened, many of the skulls were cleft, sometimes one only was not so (Archaeologia, xlii, 185); and see O. G. S. Crawford, The Long Barrows of the Cotswolds, pp. 25 and 75.

page 211 note 3 e. g. Carn Llecharth, Llangyfelach, see Arch. Camb., 1920, p. 367.

page 211 note 4 Nils Åberg, La Civilisation Enéolithique dans la Péninsule Ibérique, p. 20, and W. J. Hemp, Archaeologia, lxxvi.

page 212 note 1 A full account of the excavation will be printed in Archaeologia Cambrensis.

page 213 note 1 The Glastonbury Lake Village, vol. II, 1917, pp. 641–72.

page 213 note 2 The Early Iron Age Inhabited Site at All Cannings Cross Farm, Wiltshire, 1924, pp. 43–50.

page 213 note 3 Wilts. Arch, and Nat. Hist. Mag., vol. xliii, pp. 91–3.

page 213 note 4 Woodhenge, 1929, pp. 64–8.

page 214 note 1 Those known to Mr. Hyde are referred to in the following publications:

(1) Lyell, A. H., in Excavations at Hengistbury Head, Hants; Report of Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries 3 (1915), p. 20.

(2) Lyell, A. H., in Excavations at Wroxeter; Report of Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries 4 (1916), p. 66.

(3) Woodhead, T. W., in Woodhenge by Cunnington, M. E., 1929, p. 74.

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