Ancient Monuments

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Morfa-Bychan Burial Chambers, Cairns, House Sites & Fields

A Scheduled Monument in Pendine (Pen-tywyn), Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)

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Latitude: 51.7375 / 51°44'14"N

Longitude: -4.5772 / 4°34'37"W

OS Eastings: 222145

OS Northings: 207453

OS Grid: SN221074

Mapcode National: GBR GJ.0LPF

Mapcode Global: VH2PG.ML2D

Entry Name: Morfa-Bychan Burial Chambers, Cairns, House Sites & Fields

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 677

Cadw Legacy ID: CM053

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Chambered tomb

Period: Prehistoric

County: Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)

Community: Pendine (Pen-tywyn)

Built-Up Area: Pendine

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a cemetery of four chambered tombs dating to the Neolithic period (c. 4,400 BC - 2,900 BC) together with a long cairn. Chambered tombs were built and used by local farming communities over long periods of time. There appear to be many regional traditions and variations in shape and construction. A long cairn is a low stony and rectangular-shaped mound, probably dating to the Neolithic or Bronze Age periods (c.4200 - 2300 BC or 2300 - 800 BC respectively).

The northernmost tomb comprises a partly subterranean rectangular chamber formed by the underpinning of a massive natural slab of c 1.5m x 4m with small boulders. This lies in the centre of a low round cairn where a possible short passage connects cairn perimeter to the chamber on the north east. The northern tomb situated c 80m to the south comprises a low cairn of stones around a number of upright stones arranged as either a polygonal chamber and passage or a double chamber, there is no capstone evident. The southern tomb c75m further south comprises a roughly circular cairn of small boulders within an irregular oval-shaped chamber open to the north west composed of seven uprights c 1m high open to the north west, the capstone which measures 1.1m long by 1m wide by 0.3m deep lies displaced to the south. The southernmost tomb, another c 40m to the south comprises an oval cairn of boulders 10m in diameter and 1m high surrounding a rectangular closed chamber measuring 2m by 1m internally and 1.3m high and consisting of nine uprights, three to each long side, one to the west and two to the east. The capstone which measures 2.2m long by 1.7m wide by 0.5m deep is dislodged and lies propped upon the south side of the chamber. The long cairn lies on the western side of a ridge which runs alongside the chambered tombs. It measures 20m in length, 7m in width and is 1m high.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual. 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 and environmental and structural evidence, including a buried prehistoric land surface. Chambered tombs and long 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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