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trace of habitations and no hoards have been found, nor has careful enquiry elicited a scrap of information, or unearthed any local tradition about the discovery of submerged piles and lake-dwellers. An occasional rotten bough or log and a few nuts, invariably empty when opened, are all that have been noticed in the peat.
We learn from the burial-ground at Gors Goch that, after cremation, the remains, together with small stones, charcoal and what now appears as dark, greasy mould, were interred in five different ways, two of which (A and B) are at present only known from one example.
A. Fifty years ago a man ran his plough into a pile of stones at Blaenau Gwenog, which, when cleared, revealed flagstones lying across two rows of uprights and forming a coffin-shaped cistfaen about 6 ft. long, with nothing inside except a small heap of black earth. As everything was moved away at the time, it is impossible to say more than to mention the bare facts, and deplore the absence of a scientific record.
B. A pavement of flat stones, set in the local greygreen clay, was laid down in a shallow hole, upon which the cremated remains were carefully deposited. The details are as follows:-Eight inches below the present surface a deposit of bone-fragments, charcoal and small white and other stones, was found heaped up on the top of four flat stones. This floor was photographed in situ and measured 30 in. by 17 in.
The soil all around was undisturbed, and the stones had been fitted closely together and lay only 4 in. below the original surface. The interstices were filled in with black earth, bone-ash and charcoal-dust. The stones on their underside were stained in dark patches, doubtless owing to rain having filtered thither through the dark earth above. The earth beneath the stones was only similarly stained to the depth of a fraction of an inch.
C. A small circular pile of large stones, stained and
fire-marked, placed anyhow, some flat, some slanting, some on end, was built up on the surface of the ground, sometimes banked up, as in Yorkshire, with clay, and sometimes capped, like the urns, with a flag-stone. The deposits of one or more cremations were placed in the middle of the pile and at various spots and depths in the pile. In one case, over a dozen stones and much dark earth were removed before the discovery of a mass of calcined bones and black earth, lying underneath the lowest stone of the pile, and 18 in. below the present surface of the ground.
D. A circular hole was scooped out to a depth of 8 in. to 14 in., probably by means of a stake or pointed stone, such as the one found lying loose at the bottom of the hole beneath an interment."
E. The Use of Urns.-The calcined hones, together with the débris of the burning, were put inside an urn, which was then filled up with something which has become a layer of dark oily earth mixed with charcoal. In every case a flat capstone above the urn and a stone slab beneath (in one instance set in clay) have been found, probably part of an original cistfaen, or box-shaped tomb of stones, built round the urns, like those at Capel Cynon, illustrated in Arch. Camb. 1905. (Nothing nearly so perfect has been seen at Gors Goch as the Capel Cynon cistfaens, if indeed they were so found and not rebuilt theoretically after excavation.) The urns are found inverted or otherwise. In two cases it was evident that they had been sealed with clay, although one of them was not inverted. Only one of the five Gors Goch urns was ornamented,2 but the presence or absence of decoration does not imply that the vessels are necessarily of a different date, as both rude and fine ware have been found lying together in Yorkshire in primary interments. In this urn the bones lay clean and white, with a few small stones mixed together in a mass, underneath a 3-in. layer of greasy earth.
1 Arch. Camb., 1910, p. 375
Cardiganshire Urns.-Three cinerary urns and a small vessel, found at Gors Goch, have been referred to in Arch. Camb., 1910. A fourth was found by Mr. Jenkin Davies in October, 1910, shattered, and its contents scattered and absorbed in the surrounding soil. A fifth was found in April, 1911. This, although crushed, is complete with all its contents. A sixth was unearthed at Bryn Granod, on the other side of the ancient lake.1 A seventh was found twenty years ago at Y Banc, in the parish of Pencarreg, and reburied. A fragment of an eighth was picked up by Dr. Davies of Lampeter, at Carnau in Craig Twrch, near Cellan. These, with the five vessels found at Capel Cynon in 1905, make a total of fourteen to be added to the list of recorded Cardiganshire urns (doubtful cases omitted), as given by Sir Edward Anwyl in Arch. Camb., 1906.
The list referred to, however, does not go back further than 1840, and a careful study of references to Cardiganshire in early periodicals and other literature connected with the county, might unearth notices of many more urns found in the county or just over the borders besides the following:-
"Three earthen jars" from Llandyssul, found by Meyrick; see his History of Cardiganshire, ed. 1907, p. 192.
Two cinerary urns, one containing what Mr. W. J. Davies styles a "Nodwydd dur" (steel needle) in his History of Llandyssul, p. 13.
Unfortunately, neither writer adds dates or details. Three rows of urns, found at Nant y garn, in the parish of Conwyl Elved, and many others in neighbouring cairns, mentioned in Yr Haul, 1845, p. 245. This writer also mentions a buckler, taken in 1805 from the peat of Waun yr Adwyth, in the parish of Llangeler, and a sword and staff, with a head of ivory and bronze, from Garnwen on Bryn Geler. Reference is also made in Arch. Camb. to a "local tradition of frequent discoveries of sepulchral urns at 1 Arch. Camb., 1910, p. 373.
Pantgwy," not far from Newcastle Emlyn, and close to Henfeddau, where a number of bronze implements were found in 1859; see Arch. Camb., 1864, p. 221, 1907, p. 384.
Charcoal. Only small fragments of charcoal have been seen, the largest barely measuring one square inch, showing how careful was the burning; whereas at Kilburn, Yorkshire, and at Swansea, urns have been found packed round with large lumps of charred wood; while elsewhere partially-burnt logs have been unearthed; see Greenwell, British Barrows, p. 339.
Apparently the Gors Goch folk did not waste their fuel, or else were short of it, as in one case they left unconsumed fragments of bone 3 in. and 4 in. long.
Flints.-Three flints have been discovered at Gors Goch underground, one with a plain edge, close by the small vessel, the other two, both serrated, were embedded in the greasy mould of two excavated holes; see Arch. Camb., 1910, p. 376. Sir Edward Anwyl remarks that there are "but the scantiest of records of flint implements in Cardiganshire"; see Arch. Camb., 1906, p. 103. It is true that there are no natural flints in the county, but they can be obtained along the coast, washed up from glacial deposits in Cardigan Bay. An ancient flint factory has recently been discovered near Aberystwyth; see Arch. Camb., 1912, p. 211. The only other known Cardiganshire flint implement is a scraper, found by a child at Gogerddan in a brook. There is an interesting reference (in a note, p. 24, Hanes Plwyfi Llangeler a Phenboyr, by Mr. D. E. Jones) to a collection of flints, taken from ancient burial-places near Eglwys y Cymun, in Carmarthenshire, once in the possession of the rector, the Rev. J. Lloyd Jones. No flint chippings or flakes, burnt or otherwise, no cupmarked stones (except in one doubtful case on the under side of a capstone), and only two small fragments of a potsherd have been discovered at Gors Goch.
Calcined Bones.-A very large quantity has been obtained here and examined by three medical men,
who pronounce all to be human bones. No animal bones, so often met with elsewhere, have been picked up. It would appear that the melancholy of a prehistoric funeral at Gors Goch was not mitigated, as in other places, by a substantial meal.
White Stones.-An abundance of small white quartz stones mark out the burial-places round the vanished lake. These are apparently absent in Yorkshire and, if present at all at Craig Du, they are not mentioned by the Rev. John Davies; see Arch. Camb., 1905. They reappear in connection with burials in Scotland, where they seem to have been arranged in rows and in definite numbers (Rhys, Celtic Folk-Lore, i, 344). Their presence in such profusion over the area of interments at Gors Goch is suggestive of ceremonial or superstitious use this becomes almost certain when regarded in connection with their appearance in Scotch cairns. Professor Boyd Dawkins, in a letter to the Silurian Society of Lampeter, points out that fishermen of the Isle of Man will on no account allow white stones as ballast for their boats. White stones are still collected to ornament the fronts of houses, both in North and South Wales. That white quartz was a prominent feature of prehistoric interments is shown in the many place-names compounded with [g]wen, " White," in Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, and elsewhere. An urn was found at Carnwen, in the parish of Llandyssul (W. J. Davies, Hanes Plwyf Llandyssul, p. 13). There is a Gaerwen in Penboyr parish, and a Garnwen in Llangeler, consisting of a circle, 32 ft. in diameter, of huge white stones, each weighing a ton or more (Hanes Plwyfi Llangeler a Phenboyr, pp. 25, 26). There is a Waun Wen near Cellan, a Garnwen at Llansadwrn near Llanwrda, another on Craig Twrch, another near Capel Cynon, besides other "White Cairns" in these two counties. It is a curious fact that within a mile of Gors Goch stand the Meini Gwynion, two huge white quartz boulders, marking the boundary of three parishes, Llanwenog, Llandyssul and Llanarth.