The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Coygen Camp

Promontory Fort


The Rev. J. N. Harrison says, that whilst some quarrymen were digging for limestone on the northern top of Coygan hill, they came upon a kind of cell, scooped out in the solid rock, in which was the skeleton of a man lying on his side, with the head to the north, the knees being doubled up so as to allow the body to occupy so short a space. The cell measured 4ft. 6ins. long by 2ft. 6ins. wide by 2ft. deep, and was covered by a large "clegger" stone, almost circular, 5 ft. in diameter, and from 10 to 11 ins. thick. The top of the covering stone was about 1ft. below the surface of the ground, and round the edges of it was a kind of dry-built wall.


The Coygan hill rises abruptly from about the centre of the marsh, and juts out into it so as to form a nearly isolated promontory of limestone rock. It lies a mile and a half south-west of Laugharne. From the summit a magnificent view is obtained of the Bristol Channel. Very nearly on top of the rock is the well-known Coygan bone-cave, concerning which the following facts have not before been made public.

More than thirty years ago, when I was only just out of my teens, I heard my late father, Mr. George Baugh Allen, relate an incident which took place on the occasion of a picnic party visiting the Coygan cave. The entrance to the cave is so low and narrow that it is necessary for anyone to crawl on their hands and knees who wishes to gain access to the interior. A fat lady, who formed one of the party, succeeded getting half of her body through the opening, but then stuck fast: the result being that she had to be hauled backwards by her legs, amidst the laughter of gods and men.

Just about the time when I heard this story, prehistoric man and his co-existence with extinct animals was being much discussed, and it occurred to me that it might be worth while visiting the Coygan Cave in order to ascertain whether it was a hyaena-den. I did so, accordingly, on the first opportunity; and when I entered I saw, to my great delight, that the surface of the cave was strewn with the bones of extinct mammalia, which, if any previous visitor had noticed, he had not thought them worth while carrying away. The bones obtained by me on this and many subsequent occasions, in company of the late Dr. Henry Hicks, F.R.S., were presented to the Rugby School Museum. Mr. Edward Laws, who has collected bones from the Coygan Cave, found a Palaeolithic flint implement associated with them. The bones and flint implement are now in the Tenby Museum.
From 'Two Kelto-Roman Finds in Wales' by J. Romilly Allen, in Archaeologia Cambrensis Sixth Series, volume 1 (1901).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th January 2014ce
Edited 27th January 2014ce

Comments (1)

Sadly the cave is gone I think, but great finds. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
27th January 2014ce
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