Ancient Monuments

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Pen Gloch-y-pibwr, platform cairn on south end of

A Scheduled Monument in Llanfihangel Cwmdu with Bwlch and Cathedine (Llanfihangel Cwm Du gyda Bwlch a Chathedin), Powys

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Latitude: 51.9017 / 51°54'5"N

Longitude: -3.1612 / 3°9'40"W

OS Eastings: 320206

OS Northings: 223205

OS Grid: SO202232

Mapcode National: GBR YZ.QBJC

Mapcode Global: VH6C9.5G5J

Entry Name: Pen Gloch-y-pibwr, platform cairn on S end of

Scheduled Date: 3 February 2006

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4183

Cadw Legacy ID: BR307

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Platform Cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Powys

Community: Llanfihangel Cwmdu with Bwlch and Cathedine (Llanfihangel Cwm Du gyda Bwlch a Chathedin)

Traditional County: Brecknockshire


The monument comprises the remains of a burial cairn, probably dating to the Early Bronze Age (c.2300 BC - 1700 BC) and situated in open moorland on the leading S-facing end of the Pen Gloch-y-pibwr ridge. The stone-built cairn is roughly circular on plan and measures about 17m in diameter and about 1m in height. The cairn was possibly originally a platform cairn - despite the construction of several small shelters and modern cairns, the cairn is substantially intact and elements of a level surface are occasionally visible. The presence of two further possible platform cairns on the ridge, at Pen Cerrig-calch (BR304) and Pen Allt-mawr (BR305), supports this interpretation. This cairn is believed to be that from which it is recorded that a complete Early Bronze Age 'Beaker' pottery vessel was recovered from a cist in 1924. The vessel, an unusual 'Handled Beaker' (the only example of its type to have been found in Wales), has been reconstructed and is currently on display in the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff.

The typical burial rite for burials accompanied by Beaker pottery is individual inhumation within a cist, often with a covering mound or cairn. However, by the final phase of the Beaker tradition (when the material culture includes the unusual 'Handled Beaker'), several cists may be found together within the same mound, sometimes laid out in a symmetrical arrangement. There is a significant possibility that the Pen Gloch-y-pibwr cairn contains further graves, perhaps as yet undisturbed. Very few cairns containing multiple inhumations have been identified in Wales.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices. The well-preserved 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 further intact burial or ritual deposits and environmental and structural evidence. The likelihood that the cairn is an example of a more unusual structural class of cairn, the platform cairn, further increases its importance.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. It is circular and measures 25m in diameter.

Source: Cadw

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