Ancient Monuments

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Blaen Glasffrwd cairn cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Ystrad Fflur, Ceredigion

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Latitude: 52.253 / 52°15'10"N

Longitude: -3.8015 / 3°48'5"W

OS Eastings: 277123

OS Northings: 263180

OS Grid: SN771631

Mapcode National: GBR Y4.01PX

Mapcode Global: VH5CR.2M5P

Entry Name: Blaen Glasffrwd cairn cemetery

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1979

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1894

Cadw Legacy ID: CD138

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Round cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Ceredigion

Community: Ystrad Fflur

Traditional County: Cardiganshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Bronze Age cairn cemetery, probably dating to the second millennium BC. It is located in enclosed upland pasture within the sheltered Nant Glasffrwd basin. The cemetery comprises a large and impressive central cairn with at least five smaller examples and the remains of a possible stone row.

The central kerb cairn is a complex and important monument, displaying several phases of construction and one of the largest cists in Wales. The cairn measures 10.5m in diameter and 0.7m in height. Several long kerbstones are visible around its perimeter and a massive central cist is visible, its huge capstone pushed aside and resting on the NE side of the cist (which measures 1.4m from NW to SE by 0.8m transversely and at least 0.8m in depth). The cairn appears to be built upon an earlier structure, largely visible as a grass grown stony bank around the NE arc. This earlier phase may represent a ring cairn, the structure measuring 13.5m in diameter and 0.3m in height. Several alcoves are visible around the perimeter of the later cairn - and a sub-rectangular platform can be traced, extending to the SE and adjacent to the most prominent alcove. A shallow sub-rectangular hollow is visible within the centre of this hollow. The long thin slab lying immediately to the W may once have stood upright within this setting.

At least five further cairns form part of the cemetery; the largest measures 6m in diameter and up to 0.4m in height (it also boasts a kerb and a fine central cist) and the smallest measures 2.6m in diameter and 0.2m in height. A possible stone row also forms part of the complex; two large quartzitic boulders, one standing (up to 0.7m in height) and one prone (measuring 1.1m in length) and aligned from ESE to WNW with the central cairn. It is possible that traces of further burial monuments - such as denuded cairns and buried cists - will survive within the area of the cemetery.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices. The monument is an important relic of a prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape and retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both intact burial or ritual deposits and environmental and structural evidence.

The scheduled areas comprise the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. Area 'A' is irregular on plan and measures up to 600m from NE to SW to by 250m transversely. Area 'B' is circular in shape on plan and measures 10m in diameter.

Source: Cadw

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