Ancient Monuments

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Gelligaer Common Round Cairns

A Scheduled Monument in Darran Valley (Cwm Darran), Caerphilly (Caerffili)

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Latitude: 51.7221 / 51°43'19"N

Longitude: -3.3017 / 3°18'6"W

OS Eastings: 310181

OS Northings: 203399

OS Grid: SO101033

Mapcode National: GBR HS.2L79

Mapcode Global: VH6CZ.QZD6

Entry Name: Gelligaer Common Round Cairns

Scheduled Date: 19 June 1953

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3108

Cadw Legacy ID: GM220

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Round cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Caerphilly (Caerffili)

Community: Darran Valley (Cwm Darran)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises the remains 11 burial cairns, probably dating to the Bronze Age (c. 2300 - 800 BC). Located on the open moorland of Gelligaer Common, they command wide-ranging views of the landscape.

Cairn A - Located on the flat top of the plateau. It is turf covered measuring 5m in diameter by 0.3m high. It has a capstone 1.7m long lying in the middle orientated north-south. There is a small scatter of stones in the interior.

Cairn B - Located on open moorland near cairn A. It is turf covered and has a bank 10m in diameter by 0.5m high except on the south side were it is imperceptible. On the north side large slabs of stone are exposed on the inside of the bank and there are some stones in the interior.

Cairn C - The cairn lies in open moorland on top of the plateau. It has a 5m diameter and 0.5m high bank with a saucer-shaped interior. There is a stone showing on the inner side of the south bank.

Cairn D - The cairn stands on open moorland very close to the summit of Gelligaer Common, just north of the trig point. It is turf covered, 9m in diameter by c. 1m high. In the centre is a large stone measuring 3m by 1.5m which is aligned north-south covering a cist which is full of stones.

Cairn E - The cairn is situated on the summit of the hill with the trig point in the middle of it. It is a flat-topped mound, 15m in diameter by 2m high with a surface of stones. In the middle is a large slab, 2m by 1.5m raised at its north end, with the remains of a cist underneath. Only the side slabs of this remain, the interior is filled with stones. There are two disturbance hollows on the north side and round the edge are large kerbstones, especially on the south side.

Cairn F - The cairns stands on flat ground on the west side of the plateau on open moorland. It consists of a low bank 0.5m high, turf-covered with large stones protruding from it. It is 13m in diameter and the bank is 2-3m wide with a gap on the south side 6m wide. In the middle of the interior is a hole 2m in diameter filled with stones. To the south of it is a slab measuring 1m by 1m.

Cairn G - A turf covered cairn, with a 0.6m high bank, 6m in diameter. Located a short distance south-west of cairn f. In the middle is a large slab of stone, 1.4m by 1.4m over a rectangular cist aligned north-south.

Cairn H - The cairn stands on slightly lower ground than cairns f and g to their south-west. It has a diameter of 18m but only the northern bank remains. This is 2m wide and 0.5m high and 7m long. The rest of the bank is just perceptible. The whole cairn is turf covered.

Cairn I - The cairn stands on open moorland south-east of the summit of the hill. It is turf covered with a diameter of 8m. The rim is c. 0.75m high, the interior has been hollowed away with a large stone slab measuring 1.6m by 1.4m in the centre. This has cairn has a partially revealed cist to its south, which has a large upright slab 1.2m long lying north-south.

Cairn J - The cairn lies west of the road. It consists of an extremely low small bank 24m in diameter, turf covered with a flat interior. In the centre is a small pit.

Cairn K - The cairn stands to the south of the fork in the roads on the plateau top. It is turf-covered with a bank 9m in diameter and 0.6m high. The interior is saucer-shaped.

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, together with environmental and structural evidence. Cairns may be part of a larger cluster of monuments and their importance can further enhanced by their group value.

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

Source: Cadw

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