Page images
[graphic][graphic][merged small]


end no wall had been needed, owing to the steep precipice there existing.

Traces existed of three gateways through the walls in the track followed to this day in ascending the peak. A part of the outer walling on the west side had already been removed by the quarrying, and in some places the workmen were advancing on the inner of the two walls. This was the only destruction of the reinains up to the present, but no doubt in time the whole of the peak would be removed. Even as Mr. Hughes was making these remarks, the rhythmical chink-chink of the quarryman's hammer upon the boring tool was heard, reminding one of the inexorable march of commercialism, and of the impending doom of the


Mr. Hughes pointed to the three pinnacles of Yr Eifl, or the Rivals, visible in the distance, and said that he had had the pleasure years ago of working with the President, Dr. Boyd Dawkins, at the famous camp on one of those heights known as Treceiri. No doubt that camp was of the same period as Braich y Ddinas. As to its age they had little data to work upon, and would have to depend upon the finds, as there had practically been no excavating at all. None of the huts had been really cleared, but there had been one or two interesting finds, including part of a quern.

Professor Boyd Dawkins, intervening, said that Treceiri belonged to the Pre-historic Iron Age, and was one of a very large group which was occupied from the beginning of that age down to the Roman Conquest, and the effect of the Roman Conquest was in this country to render those camps unnecessary. He would not be a bit surprised to find Roman remains in them. In fact he had done so. The country, after the arrival of the Romans, got settled, and the population went to live down in the valleys. Mr. Hughes said his point was that whatever period was assigned to Treceiri, that also was the period of the Penmaenmawr remains. Professor Boyd Dawkins added that the style of hut alluded to was used very much later than the Pre-historic Iron Age. Nearly all the older types of monastic buildings were formed exactly in the same way, with circular stone walls roofed with stones in circles of gradually reduced diameter, thus lapping over the stones till the roof was complete.

Mr. Harold Hughes thought the huts of Penmaenmawr never had stone roofs, but Mr. G. A. Humphreys submitted that they had been covered in that way. Archdeacon Thomas remarked that such a roof had been constructed on the ancient chapel at Rhos-on-sea, and Mr. Humphreys rejoined that the system was adopted in a much cruder form at Braich y Ddinas.

The President followed with a comparison of the large clusters of huts at Penzance, one of the huts having actually been discovered there intact. These might belong even to early Christian times. There was a most perfect camp of the Pre-historic Iron Age in Ireland, which was very carefully dug and explored, of the same type as that 6TH SER., VOL. XII.


on Penmaenmawr. There was also a camp at Grasmere, which was found to be inhabited by the same kind of people as were believed to have inhabited Wales.

Canon Rupert Morris announced that the Association on Thursday made a further grant for the completion of the survey for the Journal of Braich y Ddinas, in view of its approaching destruction, and he asked Mr. Harold Hughes how he was progressing with the work. Mr. Hughes replied that the work was a very difficult one. That day the weather was exceptionally favourable, but he had never had a calm day there. The wind blew down his poles, and a tape measure was quite impossible, the wind would snap it off! A chain was the only practicable measuring instrument.

Mr. W. Bezant Lowe pointed out the upland country, lying like a map before the visitors, between the valley of the Anafon and the valley of the Conway, on the archæological remains of which he was to lecture at Abergele later in the day. The party descending to the plateau visited the so-called Druids' Circle. E. Lhwyd writes of this as "Meini Hirion, within a mile of the peak of Penmaenmawr, on the plain hill above Gwddw Glas [Green Gorge], parish of Dwygyfylchi, the most noted monument in Snowdon." On the way to this "Circle" are several tumuli of various types, and from the summit of Moelfre, 1422 ft., a good view was obtained of the uplands between it and Tal y fan, with a great number of tumuli and several good examples of cyttiau. Mr. Lowe mentioned that, owing to the tradition that a gold image had been found in the district about 1790, several tumuli had been ransacked by curiohunters. As to the "Druids' Circle," it was generally accepted that it was connected with burial rather than religious rites, and on Penmaenmawr human remains had been found. The stones were the last stage of the evolution of the tumulus. Mr. Cunnington thought that the circle had the appearance of a "long barrow," and the question of burials there could only be determined by excavating. Rev. Eyre Evans said the tumulus was similar to one in New Forest, North Radnor. Three cists, according to Mr. G. A. Humphreys, had been discovered on Penmaenmawr. Mr. Glascodine did not agree with the suggestion that the stones were the supports of a mound of earth. The name, "Druids' Circle," was stated by Professor Lloyd to have been given to the place in order to satisfy Penmaenmawr visitors. Rev. H. Longueville Jones, in a letter to Arch. Camb. (1846), describing an expedition made by himself and two friends over the mountain, says Upon reaching the fortified post of Braich y Ddinas, we found the circuits of stone walls still perfect in some places, but greatly dilapidated in others. They are about 12 ft. to 15 ft. high, and about 12 ft. thick; of loose stones, not fitting into each other with any attempt at masonry, but merely the shattered débris of that rough mountain piled together by human art. There is no appearance of mortar, nor of vitrification. Between the walls, and inside the central inclosure, but especially on the north-eastern side of the summit, are a vast number of small


« PreviousContinue »