Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Regional Historic Environment Record

Bryn yr Hen Bobl Chambered Tomb, Llanedwen

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 2172
Trust : Gwynedd
Community : Llanddaniel Fab
Unitary authority : Ynys Mon
NGR : SH51886900
Site Type (preferred type first) : Neolithic CHAMBERED TOMB
Status : Scheduled Monument

Description :
Bryn yr Hen Bobl, translated as hill of the old people. A round barrow 130ft in diameter with a rectangular chamber 17' by 3' 6" by 5'6" high set centrally in the barrow and opening on to the east; the walls if the barrow curve in on the east to the chamber defining a large forecourt. The site has been dug into at various times, but the full excavation was carried out over 6 seasons from 1929-1935. On the south side of the barrow a bank or terrace 40' wide and at present 2-3' high extends 325' due south; it is faced with revetment walls. Full excavation report, plans, illustrations and photographs included. <1>

Hemp argued the existence of a side chamber originally on the south side of the main chamber. <2>

Finds include sherds of Neolithic pottery, mostly from just outside the enclosing wall of the cairn on the south west, and a middle Bronze Age cinerary urn at the end of the terrace. Also, three polished stone axes, an adze, graiglwyd axe, flint scrapers and numerous flint flakes, a hone 14" long, a bone pin and an Iron Age type of glass bead. Charcoal was found in great quantities on the forecourt. Human remains found in the chamber amounted to about a score of individuals. For the most part they had been removed and replaced and were in a fragmentary condition. It is likely that some belong to later interments known to have been made near the surface of the cairn. (RCAHMW, 1937)

Bryn yr Hen Bobl is a large kidney-shaped cairn containing a rectangular chamber. The cairn is bounded by two internal stone walls which become confusingly elaborate in the area of the forecourt. Most of the forecourt had been completely blocked by sloping stones set in conspicuously dirty earth. It is probable that the chamber entrance too was originally blocked as there was evidence to suggest that the notched stone, which is placed between portals, once stood at 6ft. If this is true the functional entrance may well have stood over the southern horn, as Hemp suggested, and into the chamber through the side stone which had been cut back at floor-level to form a small doorway. Hemp also postulated a side chamber at this point, but the present writer would not consider its presence likely, or necessary. The 300ft long 'terrace' bonded into the southern side of the cairn is unique. This terrace is a solid structure with walls 2ft high and a compact stone filling. Whatever its significance it is undeniable that the cairn builders intended it to be an integral part of the monument and that it long retained a certain importance since a cinery urn burial was found at the end.

The large amount of pottery recovered from Bryn yr Hen Bobl has given it an added importance, but little of it came from the cairn or the chamber; the majority of sherds came from under the terrace leading to the suggestion that the monument overlay a settlement site. <4>

The eastern end of the mound has been removed to expose the chamber which has been restored and is in good condition. <5>

Bryn yr Hen Bobl. The finds beneath the terrace clearly relate to a settlement on the site abandoned before the tomb was built. The lapse of time is unknown but may not have been long since the scraps of pottery from the tomb were said to be similar to those beneath it. The site may be identified as a settlement, the theory proposed by Professor Piggott in 'Neolithic Cultures of the British Isles', 1954, p180, from the charcoal, dark earth, broken pottery, animal bones and stone-working waste, though no structures were exposed in 1935. <6>

Scheduled area extended. <8>

As previously described. A huge mound situated in a rather non-prominent position on a gentle slope. Presently has restricted views because of mature surrounding woodland but without this could have extensive views to the east and lies within a bit of natural amphitheatre. Could it be that the most of the 'terrace' to the south is actually a medieval or later lynchet and not the same as the terrace found under the mound itself? (Smith, 2003)

Sources :
Evans, R. , 2017 , Plas Newydd, Ynys Mon. Archaeological Watching Brief ( © Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT))
Lynes, M. , 2012 , How do the Standing Stones of Anglesey 'Stand'?
Mees, K. , 2013 , From the sublime to the Druidical: changing perceptions of prehistoric monuments in souther Anglesey in the post-medieval period , Post-Medieval Archaeology : Vol. 47 : pp.222-246
Smith, G. , 2003 , Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd and Anglesey ( © GAT)
Smith, G., and Steele, N. , 2005 , Pan-Wales Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Survey: Trial Data Synthesis ( © GAT)
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales , 1937 , An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey
Hemp, W. J. , 1935 , Archaeologia Cambrensis , <1>
Daniel, G. , 1950 , Prehistoric Chamber Tombs of England and Wales , <2>
Lynch, F. , 1969 , Megalithic Enquiries in Western Britain , <4>
Cadw , 1988 , SAM An 006 , <8>
Ordnance Survey , 1970 , SH56NW 2 , <5>
Lynch, F. , 1970 , Prehistoric Anglesey , <6>
Driver, T., Hamilton, M., & Leivers, M. et al. , 2000 , Antiquity , <10>
Leivers, M., Peterson, R. & Roberts, J. , 2001 , Archaeology in Wales , <11>

Events :
42272 : Chambered Cairn Known As Bryn Yr Hen Bobl Near Plas Newydd, Anglesey (year : 1929)
41562 : New Evidence from Bryn Yr Hen Bobl (year : 1999)
40526 : Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd/Anglesey (year : 2003)
42277 : Bryn Yr Hen Bobl, Llanedwen, Anglesey: an Interim Statement (year : 2000)
40527 : Pan-wales Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Survey: Trial Data Synthesis (year : 2005)

Related PRNs : 300180

Compiled date :

Images :

The above data are supplied by GAT in partnership with its Local Authorities (Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd County Councils, and Snowdonia National Park Authority), © GAT 2019 (and in part © Crown, 2019 - as indicated)
This information is supplied for the purposes of personal interest only and may not be used as part of a commercial project.

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