Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Sand Hill ring cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Ystradfellte, Powys

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Latitude: 51.8291 / 51°49'44"N

Longitude: -3.5992 / 3°35'57"W

OS Eastings: 289891

OS Northings: 215705

OS Grid: SN898157

Mapcode National: GBR YD.VXJH

Mapcode Global: VH5FZ.K9L5

Entry Name: Sand Hill ring cairn

Scheduled Date: 27 February 2006

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4256

Cadw Legacy ID: BR332

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Ring cairn

Period: Prehistoric

County: Powys

Community: Ystradfellte

Traditional County: Brecknockshire


The monument comprises the remains of a ring cairn, probably dating to the Bronze Age (c.2300 BC - 800 BC) and situated within open moorland on a low terrace on the SSW end of a slight ridge, overlooking boggy ground to the SE and almost entirely surrounded by overlooking slopes. The well-preserved ring cairn is circular on plan and measures about 11.5m in diameter within a heather-covered broad stony ring bank about 3.8m in thickness and up to 0.4m in height. The interior of the ring cairn appears slightly dished and both the interior and the ring bank appear largely undisturbed. The ring cairn is tilted slightly to the SSW - a result of the underlying topography - but has been deliberately positioned thus, in a classic location for its type, centrally positioned with surrounding overlooking slopes.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices. Excavated examples have shown these monuments to be essentially ceremonial - although with a consistent link with the burial of the dead (some cremation burials have been revealed). Rituals involving the burning and deposition of charcoal, perhaps symbolic of the funeral pyre, would seem to have been important - and the position of many ring cairns within the surrounding landscape would seem to indicate the importance of showmanship, with ceremonies viewed from outside. The well preserved monument is an important relic of a prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both intact burial or ritual deposits and environmental and structural evidence.

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 24m in diameter.

Source: Cadw

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