Ancient Monuments

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Gop Cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Trelawnyd and Gwaenysgor (Trelawnyd a Gwaenysgor), Flintshire (Sir y Fflint)

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Latitude: 53.3105 / 53°18'37"N

Longitude: -3.3723 / 3°22'20"W

OS Eastings: 308663

OS Northings: 380157

OS Grid: SJ086801

Mapcode National: GBR 4ZW5.P0

Mapcode Global: WH76H.51DZ

Entry Name: Gop Cairn

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2829

Cadw Legacy ID: FL007

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Flintshire (Sir y Fflint)

Community: Trelawnyd and Gwaenysgor (Trelawnyd a Gwaenysgor)

Traditional County: Flintshire


The monument comprises a enormous limestone cairn occupying the summit of a prominent E-W limestone ridge and commanding extensive views in all directions. It rises some 12m above the level of the ridge to the E but nearer 15m above the fall of ground to the W and S and considerably more above the steep slopes on its northern side. The now oval summit measures approximately 25m SE-NW by 15m NE-SW, its deeply dished profile being the result of later disturbance, probably by excavations undertaken for Professor Boyd-Dawkins in the 1880s, which established that the core of the cairn was of massive limestone blocks and recovered a number of flint artefacts but no burials were located and the work was only cursorily reported. Perhaps 20m to the S of the cairn in the base of a low E-W outcrop is Gop Cave (FL067), from which Boyd-Dawkins retrieved a series of presumed Neolithic burials set in crude stone chambers, records again being poor and most of the finds discarded. It has suggested that the cave may have formed a proxy burial chamber to the great cairn. Beyond the scheduled area the summit and upper slopes of the ridge are pitted with numerous small quarries and shafts and many of the outcrops on the slopes to the S have also been modified. It is likely that at least some of these may have provided materials for the cairn. A second small cairn of standard proportions lies 100m along the ridge to the E.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices, architecture and material culture. The Gop is of exceptional significance as by the far the largest Prehistoric mound in Wales and second only to Silbury Hill, Wiltshire in Britain. It is presumed to be of Neolithic date (c4500-2300BC) due to the burials in the adjacent cave and parallels with the great cairns of the Boyne Valley in Co. Meath, Ireland but also may have been used in later periods. It is visible from miles away in each direction and forms a dominant feature in a landscape that retains a dense concentration of Prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments, with which it shares group value, These include a large number of conventional, presumed Bronze Age cairns and a possible causewayed enclosure on Marian Ffrith to the SW, with which it is inter-visible.

There is a strong probability of the presence of both intact buried deposits including structural, artefactual environmental evidence that may shed light on the construction, development and use of the cairn. 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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