Page images

(Fig. 6), mostly to the N. of the Roman Road, and about the 900 feet contour line. The positions of the tumuli are indicated by dots and numbers.

On the whole, they are larger than those found to the N. of Tal y fan. There are about eleven. Nos. 1

[blocks in formation]

Fig. 6.-Map of Tumuli and Huts, near Foel Dduarth

and 2 are near the 1000 feet contour line, with diameters of 26 feet and 24 feet respectively. Nos. 3-11 form a group. No. 3 has a well-marked outer circle of stones. In No. 10 all traces of the mound have disappeared, but there is a cist lying N.N.W. and S.S.E. To the S.S.E. is a displaced is a displaced capstone, measuring 5 feet by 4 feet by 18 inches. The diameter of No. 11 is 28 feet, with an enclosing ring



about 4 feet thick. But by far the most important tumulus is No. 8 (Fig. 7), which is 30 feet in diameter (external), with a distinct double stone ring; the

[graphic][graphic][merged small]

outer ring is well defined, being formed of thin slaty rocks on edge, and the inner ring consists of fairly large stones. In the centre is a large cist lying

N.N.W. and S.S.E., 6 feet long and about 2 feet 6 inches wide; on the E.N.E. side is a large stone on edge, 6 feet long, 3 feet deep (above ground), and 11 inches thick, and forming one side of the cist. The capstone is roughly pentagonal in shape, 9 feet long, 4 feet 6 inches broad, and 2 feet 3 inches thick, and lies to the W.S.W. of the cist.

A great number of remains are to be found in the

[graphic][merged small]

ground attached to Hafod y Celyn, on the S. W. of the road after passing through the gate.

At respective distances of 192 yards and 231 yards from the gate, and 65 feet and 15 feet from the wall, are two large tumuli, Nos. 12 and 13. No. 12 has a diameter of 33 feet, and seems to be enclosed in a double ring or mound, about 10 feet thick; inside is a large cist (Fig. 8), 3 feet 6 inches in length, with the E. and W. sides still remaining. To the N. is a

large capstone, measuring 10 feet by 5 feet by 18 inches thick, with its under surface perfectly flat. Adjoining this tumulus, and to the S. of it, is a mound 21 feet square. No. 13 has a diameter of 33 feet, and in some parts the outer ring of stones is distinctly visible.

We have thus seen that upright stone circles surrounded many of these tumuli, and these were invented. before the Bronze Age, but gradually the circle was separated from the barrow or cairn, and became the leading feature of the grave. Such stone circles are to be seen in many parts of this district. Earlier writers regarded stone circles as Druidical temples (hence the name assigned to a circle at the back of Penmaenmawr),1 and even now a famous French archæologist still supports that view. It is also contended that many circles were orientated to the midsummer sunrise, and that outlying stones acted as pointers. In the case of the Druids' Circle, the sun is said to set at the winter solstice behind a stone on the western side, as seen by looking across the centre from a stone on the eastern side.

One thing, however, is fairly certain, that many stone circles were erected in honour of brave men who had fallen in battle, or of some chief whose body could not be recovered. The same remarks apply to the solitary stones or menhirs (meini hirion).

The best examples in this district are in the uplands at the back of Penmaenmawr, including the Druids' Circle, which has been described by various writers from the time of Sir John Wynne, among them Pennant, Mr. Longueville Jones, and Mr. J. O. Halliwell, F.R.S.5 As showing that this circle was an




1 There seems, however, to be a belief that, in this instance, the name is of comparatively recent origin.

2 An Ancient Survey of Penmaenmawr, p. 24.

W. Bezant Lowe, June, 1906.

3 Tours in Wales, vol. iii, p. 118.

4 Arch. Camb., 1846

5 Family Excursions.

Re-edited by

ancient burial place, Mr. Llewelyn Jewitt, writing in November, 1876, on English Antiquities says:

"A large circle on Penmaenmawr was composed of several uprights, connected with smaller masonry. Here the interments were apparently made beside the pillars. Against the inner side of the tallest stone on the eastern part, were the remains of a small Cistvaen ; whilst against the pillar facing it on the opposite side,

[graphic][merged small]

was heaped up a small cairn. The whole is surrounded by a ditch, within which is another small cairn."

A short distance to the west of this, is another circle (Fig. 9), but, on further investigation, it seems possible that one set of these stones forms the remains of a long barrow. To the S. W. of this is still another, where the circle is marked by a ring of earth, with small stones projecting through it at intervals. Pennant says "there were four circles near the first, and in the

« PreviousContinue »