|Not to be confused with several other monuments in the area of the same type and name, this is absolutely stunning, a dramatic monument in a huge top-of-the-world setting.
Coming round the coast path from Porth Mawr / Whitesands Bay, this cromlech stands boldly silhouetted against the sky for quite some distance.
It's placed in the lea of two outcrops high on the headland, just at the point where you can see the sea both sides.
It's thought by some to be the fallen remains of a conventional dolmen, a view supported (no pun intended) by two possible uprights lying near the edge of the capstone.
However, others believe it to be an 'earth-fast' tomb like Garnwnda, ie that it was built with one end of the capstone touching the ground and never had a covering mound.
This idea gains credence when you bear in mind that most earth-fast tombs are sited on or immediately beside a natural rocky outcrop. Your first thought for Coetan Arthur is that it's the outcrop on which it stands. However, the view is across to the outcrop of Carn Llidi, and the possibly tooled flat side of the capstone faces it in the same way others face their outcrop (eg Ffyst Samson).
Furthermore, the capstone appears obviously shaped to mimic the shape of Carn Llidi. That being so, the capstone is surely in its original position – if it were raised level on uprights, the contour emulation effect would be lost.
The considerable prehistoric remains along this little stretch of coast, from Mesolithic to iron age, show it to have been hugely important for a massive period of time.
But even if none of this were the case, it is still wonderful to climb up here and be buffeted about by the wildness of the elements and made to feel very very alive.
Today the sun shines bright and the wind blows hard, and a horse and her foal stand beside the cromlech, the waves build, smash, drop and build as they have done ceaselessly since long before the monument was here and it all combines and piles on levels of the birth-death meaning of the place.
visited 23 Aug 04
Posted by Merrick
7th September 2004ce