Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Coed Ddu ring cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Seven Sisters (Blaendulais), Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

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Latitude: 51.7425 / 51°44'32"N

Longitude: -3.7289 / 3°43'43"W

OS Eastings: 280729

OS Northings: 206280

OS Grid: SN807062

Mapcode National: GBR H6.1DS9

Mapcode Global: VH5G9.BG1K

Entry Name: Coed Ddu ring cairn

Scheduled Date: 28 September 2006

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4277

Cadw Legacy ID: GM592

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Ring cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

Community: Seven Sisters (Blaendulais)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises the remains of a ring cairn, probably dating to the Bronze Age (c.2300 BC - 800 BC) and is situated within enclosed unimproved pasture on the west-facing slopes of Hirfynydd, above and to the north-east of Crynant. The well-preserved ring cairn is circular on plan and measures about 14m in diameter within a grass-covered stony ring bank about 2m in thickness and up to 0.3m in height. The interior is level and largely stone free. The bank has been heavily denuded around the N side, presumably the result of antiquarian investigation or stone robbing. The ring cairn is situated in a classic location, with wide views all around and particularly to the north-west - except to the rear, where it is overlooked by higher ground. Several large slabs (one set upright) are situated immediately to the south of the cairn, forming a semi-circle perhaps 11m in diameter; these footings may represent the surviving elements of the kerb remaining from a further cairn, now robbed of its stone.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices. Excavated examples have shown these monuments to be essentially ceremonial - although with a consistent link with the burial of the dead (some cremation burials have been revealed). Rituals involving the burning and deposition of charcoal, perhaps symbolic of the funeral pyre, would seem to have been important - and the position of many ring cairns within the surrounding landscape would seem to indicate the importance of showmanship, with ceremonies viewed from outside. The well-preserved monument is an important relic of a prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both intact burial or ritual deposits and environmental and structural evidence.

The area scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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