Ancient Monuments

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Parc le Breos Burial Chamber

A Scheduled Monument in Ilston (Llanddinol), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.5883 / 51°35'18"N

Longitude: -4.1127 / 4°6'45"W

OS Eastings: 253731

OS Northings: 189835

OS Grid: SS537898

Mapcode National: GBR GT.ZWSR

Mapcode Global: VH4KD.NBMQ

Entry Name: Parc le Breos Burial Chamber

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3656

Cadw Legacy ID: GM122

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Chambered long cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Ilston (Llanddinol)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of the remains of a chambered long cairn, dating to early Neolithic (c. 4400BC-2900BC). 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 they contain one or more stone or wooden burial chambers at one end.

The cairn stands on the floor of a narrow valley which has been cut through limestone formations and looks towards Oxwich Bay, 2km to the south.

After the exposure of a burial chamber in 1869 the whole of the central structure of the cairn was excavated and planned then in 1960-61 the whole structure was re-excavated and restored. Human, ritual and funerary remains were discovered and removed during the excavations.

The long axis of the cairn is aligned 5ยบ west of due south and is mainly comprised of limestone rubble which is retained by two parallel dry-stone revetments 0.8m apart. The outer revetment is preserved to a height of 0.3m at the northern end, increasing to about a metre at the southern end. The revetments define a wedge-shaped cairn 22.2m in length which tapers from 12.4m at its widest part to 6.3m at its northern end. The two sides and northern end are virtually straight, while the southern end consists of a bell-shaped forecourt about 2m wide recessed to a depth of about 4.5m between convex terminals of slightly unequal length.

The tomb itself is built of upright limestone slabs with fine dry walling filling irregular spaces between them. A gallery which sits on the long axis of the cairn is 6.2m in length and 1m wide leads to four chambers which form transepts at the end of the gallery at its midpoint. The opposing chambers average 1.6m in length and 1m in width.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices. The features are an important relic of a prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape, together with environmental and structural evidence. Chambered 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.

Source: Cadw

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