An enigmatic and well preserved Stone Age burial chamber in Wales may be more closely associated with Stonehenge than anyone previously realised
Viewed from the nearest road it doesn’t look too impressive. A circular, raised mound the size of a small house in the middle of some cattle-grazed fields on the Isle of Anglesey off the northwest tip of Wales. But get up close and this Stone Age monument – Bryn Celli Ddu – is very obviously an extremely ancient construction well worth the visit.
It might not seem to have anything in common with southern England’s famous and much larger prehistoric monument, but recent research suggests that it might have provided part of the inspiration for the construction of Stonehenge, arguably the most famous prehistoric “building” in the world.
Protected by CADW
Today, Bryn Bryn Celli Ddu (the mound in a dark grove) is under the protection of CADW, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/bryn-celli-ddu-burial-chamber). When it was built, the circle was probably located in a large clearing used for primitive farming but entirely surrounded by forest, hence the name. Only a few small copses of trees survive anywhere nearby today.
Read the CADW information board at the site or research Bryn Celli Ddu on-line and you’ll be told that it started life around 3,000BC (the late Neolithic era) as a henge or ritual enclosure; a stone circle surrounded by a bank and internal ditch, like a very small and primitive version of Stonehenge. Over the years, archaeologists have found evidence for at least fourteen of these stones at Bryn Celli Ddu; two of them had the burnt bones of a young girl buried at their bases.
The henge that was changed to a burial chamber?
Then, according to the archaeological wisdom promoted since the 1960s, everything changed hereabouts! The henge was dismantled in the early Bronze Age (around 2000BC); five stones were removed, two toppled, one buried, and six broken. Excavation revealed that the broken stones had been toppled and then smashed by dropping other heavy stones on them, and all of the stones except one were intentionally damaged before being buried beneath the cairn suggesting that the next development phase at this site wanted rid of any trace of the henge that was there!
The new settlers then supposedly built a passage grave over the top of the centre of the henge, the main structure that survives here today. Built entirely of stone, this structure is capped with large flatter stones and turfed over with grass on the outside, much of the roofing a restoration carried out only a few decades back.
Dark and narrow, you have to crouch as you walk along its fifteen feet long, stone-ceilinged passageway into the centrepiece of the grave, a circular stone chamber tall enough to stand up in (just about) around eight feet in diameter, stone and turf covered. It’s an enigmatic place, cool and damp, dimly lit by a shaft of daylight, a reminder that Stone Age people once stood exactly where you stand now.
A standing stone with a carved, twisting, serpentine-like design stood originally inside the chamber but it was moved to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff for safe keeping and replaced with a replica standing outside the chamber. No one knows what its complex symbols mean.
Stone Age burials
There are old records establishing that the site was visited, and probably plundered, from 1699 onwards, and excavated in 1865 and again between 1927 and 1931. In the passage and in the chamber, human bones – some burnt, some not – a stone bead, two flint arrowheads, a scraper and mussel shells were found. More bones from burials might have been present but were probably removed over the centuries.
But this established interpretation of a henge later converted to a burial chamber, and adopted as the definitive explanation of what went on at Bryn Celli Ddu, has been turned upside down by recent research carried out by Dr Steve Burrow, Curator of Neolithic Archaeology at The National Museum and Galleries Wales.
He’s concluded that the evidence points to the whole structure being built all in one go around 3,000BC and that there was no original henge followed later by its “conversion” to a burial chamber. Burrow suggests that the standing stones in a circle could have been a ritual boundary on the outside of the burial chamber.
Lined up to mark the summer solstice
But Steve Burrow has made another amazing discovery at Bryn Celli Ddu. He knew that Norman Lockyer, a scientist who researched the site, had argued in 1906 that Bryn Celli Ddu marked the summer solstice (Midsummer Day, the longest in a year). He was ridiculed by Welsh archaeologists at the time but Burrow decided to test out the idea.
Slaves of Charleston - Beyond Wealth of Jewish South Carolina 2014 09 15
Founded in 1749 in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Beth Elohim Synagogue is one of the very earliest synagogues in America. While other synagogues and congregations are also now a part of Charleston city life, Beth Elohim Synagogue is the oldest one in the area and serves as the repository for certain historical artifacts of Jewish life in the city. ...
Martian meteorite yields more evidence of the possibility of life on Mars 2014 09 15
A tiny fragment of Martian meteorite 1.3 billion years old is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars, say scientists.
The finding of a ‘cell-like’ structure, which investigators now know once held water, came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece. Their findings are published in the latest edition ...
Swedish Surprise: Anti-Immigration Party Surges... 2014 09 15
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
Sunday’s election in Sweden was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Left. The Drudge Report ran a piece yesterday from the Guardian entitled: “Free-market era in Sweden swept away as feminists and greens plot new path.” The paper, a left-wing British outlet, published the piece the day before the election; it proved to be, well, ...
UK School to fingerprint students to ‘monitor their diets’ 2014 09 15 STOURBRIDGE, England – A school is implementing a biometric system to better track what students are eating each day.
The Express & Star reports students at Redhill School in Stourbridge, England will be fingerprinted in an attempt to reduce lunch lines and “monitor pupils’ diets.”
The system requires pupils to press a finger against a machine which converts the print into ...
U.S. State Department Orders 160,000 Ebola Hazmat Suits 2014 09 15
The U.S. State Department has ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits for Ebola, prompting concerns that the federal government is anticipating the rapid spread of a virus that has already claimed an unprecedented number of lives.
In a press release posted by Market Watch, Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for first responders, announced that it had signaled its intention “to ...