Ancient Monuments

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Dyffryn Burial Chamber

A Scheduled Monument in Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.7846 / 52°47'4"N

Longitude: -4.0936 / 4°5'37"W

OS Eastings: 258898

OS Northings: 322836

OS Grid: SH588228

Mapcode National: GBR 5R.XN2G

Mapcode Global: WH56D.28XL

Entry Name: Dyffryn Burial Chamber

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3192

Cadw Legacy ID: ME003

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Chambered long cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Gwynedd

Community: Dyffryn Ardudwy

Built-Up Area: Tal-y-bont

Traditional County: Merionethshire


The monument consists of the remains of a chambered long cairn and a hut circle settlement. The chambered long cairn probably dates to the early Neolithic (c. 4,200BC - 3,000BC) and the settlement to the Bronze Age or Iron Age (c.2300 BC - AD 74).

A long cairn is a roughly rectangular or trapezoidal mound of stone, usually between 25m and 120m long, with a length exceeding twice its greatest width. The mound may be edged with a timber or stone revetment, and may contain one or more stone or wooden burial chambers at one end. Dyffryn Burial Chamber, is one of the largest Neolithic ritual monuments in north Wales and was excavated between 1961 and 1962. The monument consists of two east-west oriented portal dolmen-type chambers which are set within a well defined large trapezoidal cairn. The cairn is constructed of rounded boulders and measures 28m in length and 15m wide and aligned southwest to northeast. The 1960s excavations discovered ritual and funerary material and revealed two clear construction phases; the first monument phase, the western chamber, comprises a rectangular stone chamber, 2.5m wide and 1m in depth which is closed off with a blocking slab. Both the chamber and the eastern forecourt area were enclosed by an oval cairn measuring c. 9m in length and with a maximum width of 8.5m. This cairn is completely enclosed by the later large trapezoidal cairn. East of the blocking slab are the remains of a well defined V-shaped forecourt. The larger eastern chamber is located 10m to the northeast of its western counterpart and also has its forecourt oriented towards the east.

In the field to the east of the burial chamber is a hut circle settlement. This comprises the foundations of two round houses, an enclosure formed by low banks, two terraces and several clearance cairns, presumably created by contemporary agricultural practices. Part of the northern of the two hut circles is clearly visible, lying between two mature trees that grow on the boundary at the north of the scheduled area. Stonework of the southern hut circle and adjacent enclosure bank is visible poking through the turf.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices (the chambered long cairn) and prehistoric domestic life and social organisation (the hut circle settlement). It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of structural evidence and associated archaeological features and deposits. The features are an important relic of a prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape and their importance is further enhanced by their group value.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them.

Source: Cadw

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