Ancient Monuments

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Garth cairn cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Llanafanfawr (Llanafan Fawr), Powys

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Latitude: 52.2323 / 52°13'56"N

Longitude: -3.4893 / 3°29'21"W

OS Eastings: 298386

OS Northings: 260394

OS Grid: SN983603

Mapcode National: GBR YK.1F3X

Mapcode Global: VH5D3.G5Q0

Entry Name: Garth cairn cemetery

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2007

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4294

Cadw Legacy ID: BR366

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Round cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Powys

Community: Llanafanfawr (Llanafan Fawr)

Traditional County: Brecknockshire


The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric linear cairn cemetery, probably dating to the Bronze Age (c.2300 BC - 800 BC). The cemetery contains the remains of at least two round burial cairns and an unusual oval ring cairn and is situated within unenclosed moorland along the summit of the Garth ridge, on the ESE flanks of Drum Ddu. The linear cairn cemetery is aligned from ESE to WNW, with the largest burial cairn on the WNW end, situated on a SE-facing slope; a small central round cairn; and the ring cairn on the leading ESE end of the ridge. Excavation elsewhere has indicated that ring cairns had a consistent link with the burial of the dead (some cremation burials have been revealed) and rituals involving the burning and deposition of charcoal, perhaps symbolic of the funeral pyre, would seem to have been important.

The ring cairn (Item C) is situated on the leading edge of the ridge. It is stone built and is oval on plan, measuring about 8m from NE to SW by 7m transversely within a low stony ring bank c. 1.5m in thickness. The central stone built cairn (Item B) is situated about 200m to the WNW; it is circular on plan and measures about 7m in diameter and up to about 0.2m in height. The largest stone built burial cairn (Item A) is situated on a SE-facing slope about 450m to the WNW of the central cairn. It is circular on plan and measures 22m in diameter and up to 0.7m in height (on its downslope side). The cairns have suffered from disturbance in the past, with probable antiquarian investigation or robbing indicated by central hollows and trenches. Despite this disturbance, the bulk of each cairn remains intact and well-defined and their archaeological potential remains significant.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices. The features are important relics of a prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape and retain significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both intact burial or ritual deposits and environmental and structural evidence. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the group value formed by the association of the individual cairns within the cemetery - and the topographical association of the cemetery with the many other cairns and cemeteries that can be found within the surrounding area, including the cairn cemetery on Banc Ystrad-wen (BR094) and the large summit burial cairn on Drum Ddu, Carn-y-geifr (BR095).

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. Area A covers the largest cairn (SN 98099 60491) and is circular and measures 35m in diameter. Area B covers the central cairn (SN 98545 60339) and is circular and measures 20m in diameter. Area C covers the ring cairn (SN 98739 60302) and is circular and measures 28m in diameter.

Source: Cadw

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