Bryn Celli Ddu

The Mound of the Dark Grove

 

 

 

 

 

Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey, one of the last megalithic structures built, is a striking example of a late Neolithic (2000 BCE) religious site, and probably the best passage grave in Wales.

 

The site was actually constructed in two stages. A circular henge (ritual enclosure), with a bank and internal ditch and stone circle, was followed much later by the building of a stone burial chamber, which was covered by a mound. This is a very unusual situation as passage tombs had gone out of fashion prior to this type of henge being built. Therefore it could be the result of a conflict between an older religious group and "modern" thinkers introducing new beliefs.

 

Henges, which are usually circular ditches with an earth bank encircling it, are of course a purely British monument, mainly in England and Scotland, with few examples in Wales or Ireland.

 

The small 60 foot henge at Bryn Celli Ddu was used for a long time before it was destroyed and the ditch allowed to silt up.

 

The henge contained a stone circle who's fourteen stones were arranged in opposing pairs from the centre of the henge. A pit has been excavated containing charcoal and a human bone. The pit was sealed with a flat coverstone, and another large stone decorated with zig-zag patterns was found alongside. This suggests there may have been a central construction in the henge. There is also evidence of cremations at their base of some stones, including the cremations of two young girls.

 

When the “old religion group” built the communal passage grave, all the stones were deliberately damaged and buried beneath the tomb, not used in its construction, so they must have been thought offensive. The earth bank was probably removed to be use on the cairn.

 

A narrow 3 foot wide passage some 27 feet long, leads to the burial chamber, which is formed as a polygon by six slabs. Along one side of the passage is a shelf or seat, and along the other side are two niches with small standing stones inside. Inside the burial chamber itself is an impressive phallic standing stone.

 

The complete burial chamber was covered by a large cairn, much larger than the one seen today. This was supported by a double row of kerb stones the remnants of which can still be seen.

 

Outside the ditch the burial of an ox, which was contained in a stone and wood triangular structure, has been found. This is of uncertain date.

   

The Barrow

 

The Kerb Stone Circle

 

Ritual Entrance

 

Interior

 

Phallic Stone

 

 

 

 

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