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

Get the TMA Images feed

Latest Posts
Showing 1-50 of 8,798 posts. Most recent first | Next 50

Iwerddon (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Barely more than a week after my first failure here, I'm back for another go at this elusive cairn and cist. Once more I drive up through the forest on a very rough track, hairpin right turn, then a long looping left bend, the map shows a footpath running through here, couldn't see it last time and I couldn't find it this time, it has, most regrettably, gone.
So I end up having to park in the same place as I did last time, but I now know where the stream is, and to turn left there. The cairn is, map says, in between the stream and the footpath, I've already verified that the footpath has now gone, so I follow the mountain biking path to said stream , turn left and make my appearance on the large clearing seen on maps and google earth.
What an unpleasant place this is, absolutely dreadful, just awful, let me explain. It's not Wales' fault, that's to be sure, they put up a forest here, and then reaped it completely, I've seen what the earth looks like after they've taken all the trees, like a hundred bombs went off, like the Somme without the bodies, sorry, but it's just that bad, with tall grass all over it, at times chest height, holes that are leg deep, streams pass by heard but unseen, it is very slow going, nay it is a dangerous place to walk/wade.
Needless to say, that after two hours of solid swearing at the ground I failed to find it again, it's not big to start with, only ten feet wide and zero feet high, but the cist in the middle should be visible, V.P.Williams or maybe F.Foster from Coflein was there in March 2006, so I'm a bit stumped. I found a couple of likely looking maybe cairns, but both were too high and no cist. I looked under trees, I looked at all the grassy bits, all the stones, anything that peaked my curiosity got a good staring at, but, in the end I had to admit defeat. So I slumped onto the ground on what wasn't a cairn, and stared intently at the Snowdonian view north and west, it is a very good vantage point to see all the big mountains, on that ground alone I am still convinced there is a cairn with a cist up here somewhere. But in the back of my mind I remember that were all human and prone to making mistakes now and then.
Back down by the stream I start looking in a place I know the cairn not to be, but the hillock had short grass and some stones were visible, so I had a look, and found a low wall, with a horseshoe shaped open enclosure built into the lower end, I dont know what it is , but it's not a cairn with a cist in it, I decide to ask coflein when I get home, perhaps I can pin down the cairn if I know exactly where this "thing" is. I did, it's not on there.
Siiiiiiiiigh !
If someone else finds this cairn before me I'll drop me pants on Burton's corner on Saturday afternoon.

Iwerddon (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman<b>Iwerddon</b>Posted by postman

Pen Llithrig y Wrach (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Pen Llithrig y Wrach</b>Posted by postman

Adam and Eve (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Adam and Eve</b>Posted by postman

Carnedd Moel Siabod (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman

Paviland (Cliff Fort) — Images

<b>Paviland</b>Posted by postman<b>Paviland</b>Posted by postman<b>Paviland</b>Posted by postman<b>Paviland</b>Posted by postman<b>Paviland</b>Posted by postman<b>Paviland</b>Posted by postman

Hendre Waelod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

No field notes for eleven years, that's not right.
When approaching by car head for the dead end lane that takes you to Meddiant and Bryn-popty, round about here you'll come across a field gate on the right side of the lane with a footpath, leaving annoying children in the car by the gate, strike off into the field beyond. Follow the car tracks through the field into the field further up the hill, left and across the next field through the gate in the hedge, and the burial chamber is across this field in the trees.
Easy, even with cows, which kept a respectful distance of about two feet.
This is a very good place, even without the ancient site this would be a good place to sit and watch the world unfold, as I approached the stones I interrupted a pair of Buzzards, which called loudly as they flew off. My only little niggles are the state of preservation of the chamber and the trees that cover the view of the mountains. The trees I can forgive, but I would really rather the chamber stood up a bit more, its quite difficult working out which way is the front and back. But these are very minor niggles, easily overlooked when compared to the fact that you can still get into the chamber, under the capstone you can see the size of the supporting stones, and whats more no red paint.
The two tall pillars that look like they are behind the monument but aren't are good, if a little choked by barbed wire, and the capstone is a big one, very impressive big, a big stone with two smaller ones, humph, i'm reminded of the two obnoxious kids in the car and remember they couldn't be trusted with an angels innocence and start the short but cow barred walk back, the cows were good, perhaps they recognised another put upon soul and commiserated with me, and I them.

Hendre Waelod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Hendre Waelod</b>Posted by postman<b>Hendre Waelod</b>Posted by postman<b>Hendre Waelod</b>Posted by postman<b>Hendre Waelod</b>Posted by postman<b>Hendre Waelod</b>Posted by postman

Afon Ceirw (Destroyed) (Cairn circle) — Fieldnotes

The 1:25000 map confidently states there is a cairn circle here, Coflein says there was once a cairn here but is now mostly destroyed, precisely they say.....A vague, turf-covered rise, c.12m in diameter & 0.2m high, showing a few scattered stones, remains of a mound levelled in 1951.
I couldn't even see that, there's nowt left of it at all, please don't turn up expecting to see something cool, it has gone, I've been so you don't have to.

Afon Ceirw (Destroyed) (Cairn circle) — Images

<b>Afon Ceirw (Destroyed)</b>Posted by postman<b>Afon Ceirw (Destroyed)</b>Posted by postman

Garn Prys (Cairn circle) — Fieldnotes

When I first started looking at Snowdonia with an eye for ancient things, naturally my eyes turned to the areas around Betws Y Coed and the Fairy Glen my favourite places from childhood holidays, with the right map you'll notice a pair of cairn circles not far from Rhydlydan, just south of the A5.
So it was quite a while since I last came here, quite a while since I last failed to find it, so after an aborted attempt to find Iwerddon cist I thought I'd give this place another go, a well overdue another attempt.
I probably parked in the same place, by some large black bin bag barrels, I probably jumped the fence in the same place too, but unlike last time I came alone, leaving negative nay sayers in the car.
Two, small, barely wet streams need to be crossed, the cairn circle is right next to the stream furthest from the road, ive been doing this for a number of years now and was quite confident of finding it this time round, but, I just couldn't see it. It was difficult to discern stream from ditch or dyke or what ever, I could feel the site slipping away from me again, so I note that on the map the stream the Cairn circle is next to runs down across the hill side from the very corner of the field, so I go up to the corner grab the stream by the tail and doggedly follow it down the hill.
A supremely fantastic idea which paid off handsomely, on the way down the stream I noted a few groups of stones which I though might be it, then I saw it standing there brazenly winking at me, it was right there all the time, I must have walked within feet of it several times.
No wonder I couldn't find, what I usually do is go to high ground and look round from there, but from this angle it just melts away into the hillside, it's even more invisible from below it, only stood right next to it can it be seen.
A low doughnut half buried in the grass with a few stones passing them selves off as kerb stones.
This site wont get your groin fizzing, but is maybe worth a look if your going along the A5 before you get to Snowdonia proper.
After my earlier failure it was good to find something so elusive, thumbs up? nay, a fist in the air.

Garn Prys (Cairn circle) — Images

<b>Garn Prys</b>Posted by postman<b>Garn Prys</b>Posted by postman<b>Garn Prys</b>Posted by postman<b>Garn Prys</b>Posted by postman<b>Garn Prys</b>Posted by postman

Carnedd Moel Siabod (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman

Iwerddon (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Coflein says this
Remains of a small cairn on the bare mountain pasture called Iwerddon. The cairn is 10 feet across with a cist at its centre. The cist measures 48" in length by 28" in width, oriented north-west/south east, with the two side slabs of stone and one end slab still in situ. The site shows signs of having been robbed in the past.
So I gave it a go.
A small road leads north west from Penmachno passing as it does Ty Mawr farmhouse, birthplace of Bishop Morgan, the translator of the first complete Welsh Bible, published in 1588. But before you get to that place, there is a large clearing amid the trees east of the road, the cairn with cist is in that clearing. The going looked pretty hard, and with two soft footed townies in tow I decided we might get closer to the cairn if we could find a way through the forest. There was indeed a way through the forest, after what seemed like too long we found a parking place in the forest next to a sign saying Iwerddon 2.6miles, bingo, I thought, and off we went down this really thin path through dense forestry plantation. Dodging as we went mountain bikers with insanely good balance, I'd have fallen off a dozen times, but none of them did, we kept going on the path, with nothing more to entice us on than a fine view of Moel Siabod with Tryfan over it's right shoulder.
The path was really taking too long to take us into the large clearing where the cist is, so I decided to scramble through, pick a way through the tightly packed trees as soon as I could see daylight through them. Once into the clearing, I was shocked and appalled to see that we were all the way back nearly to the road, massive sighs of disappointment, we had passed by the cist by not much more than a hundred yards but with no way to get to it. I was pondering what to do, we could slowly walk back up the hill, but the ground was horribly uneven with huge tussocks of grass, if we'd gone up the hill and maybe found the cist we might not have been able to relocate the car, just as I was pondering our predicament, Eric's mate said something really stupid and annoying which I can not reproduce here, it annoyed me so much the answer of what to do resolved itself for us, time to go, quit this place and find somewhere else easier to find.
I would have gotten away with it too if not for these meddling kids.

Y Foel Cairns (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Three or four miles south of Betws Y Coed is the small but nice village of Penmachno, and about a mile east of Penmachno amid a profusion of footpaths and low walls is a duo, or trio of cairns, one with a cist.
I parked on the road south of the cairns and followed the path through the back yard of Foel house, where a nice old man pointed out the way the path went, but beyond that he couldn't help, we went off the way he'd pointed.
The 1:25000 map says there are three cairns, but one is represented on the map only as a dot, it's not mentioned on Coflein, and we couldn't find it, so either it's not ancient, or it's not there.
So ignoring the dot cairn we rove and roam in what I hope is the direction of the other two, but I'm struggling to orient myself in this maze of paths, farm tracks and low hill tops.
It doesn't help that I did not re look over Coflein to make sure I know what i'm looking for, I just know there is a cist here somewhere.
Whilst i'm looking over towards Snowdonia and pointing out Moel Siabod to anyone who'll listen, ie: talking to myself again, I turn around and there, plain as day is a good large cist, I giggled slightly but no one noticed, a cist with a view of a well known becairned mountain, I'd hoped Id be able to see it but you never know till you get there. There are more cists in cairns much closer to Moel Siabod, I wondered if there was a link, further than the rocky mount.
The good large cist has all four sides, but one end has fallen outwards a bit, and all contained in what we must presume to be cairn, there are no stones, no cairn material showing, just a few lumps and bumps that are scarcely any higher than the cist.
Looking for the other cairn was a futile and fruitless concern, how far from the other cairn is it? don't know, in what direction precisely? don't know, What does it look like? don't know.
There are several low knoll's between the cist and a farm track, one of them must be it, but then, who's interested in maybe cairns, cairns are definitely one thing where size matters.

Y Foel Cairns (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Y Foel Cairns</b>Posted by postman<b>Y Foel Cairns</b>Posted by postman<b>Y Foel Cairns</b>Posted by postman<b>Y Foel Cairns</b>Posted by postman<b>Y Foel Cairns</b>Posted by postman<b>Y Foel Cairns</b>Posted by postman

Elderbush Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

The entrance to this cave is getting a bit overgrown, there's lots of dead wood and a fire pit mar the extreme beauty within, so after a bit of a tidy up I take to photographing this apparently small cave.
The cave has a smaller cave at the back, but it is a short dead end. Another smaller grotto goes into the right wall, but it is an even shorter dead end. The left wall of the main chamber kind of resembles elephant teeth, between one of the teeth is a small passage, crouching low I waddle inwards, as the passage turns right it goes over a step and I'm able to stand up. The walls have red stuff running down them, the bleeding heart of Elderbush cave it's like i'm in a living beast. Then the battery went in my camera and I'm entombed in darkness, after a short but intense freak out I put my clothes back on and wriggle free of the small tight space, blinking in the bright light in the main chamber, I try to coax my camera into a few more pictures but it's well and truly dead, not pining for the Fjords, just dead.

I'd need about a dozen pictures to convey the wonderful loveliness in this cave, it is everything Tolkien would have liked, as well as the elves themselves, I can imagine sitting in this cave, fully clothed, just as the sinking sun poured it's magical embrace all over us, I'd really like that I think.

Ps, I never take my clothes off at ancient places, I've thought about it, but never have, don't be scared.

Seven Ways Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

From the entrance of Thors cave follow the path up round the back and up to the top of the Tor, so the cave is directly below you, after admiring the view up and down the wooded Manifold valley, go left, right on the edge of the cliff is this fast getting overgrown cave.
A rather odd name, don't you think? seven ways what, into the cave or steaming fish?
The entrance to the cave today is through the large collapsed wide open area, once your in there, theres three arches through which to observe the sun not doing anything in particular. 180 degrees from the three arches the cave continues to go back for a while, it's not a big one, compared to Thor's cave it is but a slight depression.
Dont stay too long or you might not have enough time to explore Elderbush cave, one of the best places in all of England.

Thor's Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

It wasn't easy getting to the car park South of the caves, a diversion took me round Alstonefield, I got all turned round and my mind seemed to melt, getting there was a fairly hit and miss episode, but get there I did, eventually.
I followed the river Manifold for about a mile during one of it's disappearing underground tricks, there's one quite cool thing to see already, then the huge rocky tor comes into view and ones gaze is thrust upwards, it's a long way up.
Crossing a now rather defunct bridge the path goes upwards through the woods, taking a right hand turn I am only guessing which way to go, it's been at least decade since I was last here. Suddenly I realise I'm getting very close, and then I'm there, thankfully I was the only one present.
I carefully scramble up the entrance to the cave and learn early on how slippy it is in there, imagine a cartoon character suddenly finding themselves on ice, how I remained vertical I'll never know, perhaps it's 'cause I'm a big fan of everything Asgardian.
First I go over to the big crack in the right hand wall, it is apparently a serviceable entrance/exit to the cave but you need to have the skills of a snow leopard mountain goat, my skills barely approach those of a long legged bird, or something else totally without balance. I call this crack the suicide exit. Turning 180 degrees the cave splits in two, Thors nostrils Stubob called them, I see no reason not carry on this simile. So I slip and skip off up the left nostril, the simile carries on once inside, the floor is covered in a lubricious muddy clay.
There are gaps in the cave wall where you can see into the other nostril, the feeling is one of being in a cathedral, so I did what I always do in a cathedral, I took all my clothes off and writhed around on the floor speaking in tongues.
No, of course not.
The right nostril was just as slick, but it goes further back and it's got puddles, I really must invest in a big torch, it was most unseemly getting about in the dark using only the flash on my camera.
I find a dry spot on what would be Thor's philtrum and sit round for a while, marveling at all the colours in the cave, reds, greens, browns and all in between, the trees out side the entrance going up the Manifold valley are perfection.
I'm snapped back into reality by voices, I build up the fire rouse my family grab the spears and run off into action, yelling like madmen.
Could have happened, once.

Elderbush Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Images

<b>Elderbush Cave</b>Posted by postman<b>Elderbush Cave</b>Posted by postman

Seven Ways Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Images

<b>Seven Ways Cave</b>Posted by postman<b>Seven Ways Cave</b>Posted by postman<b>Seven Ways Cave</b>Posted by postman
Showing 1-50 of 8,798 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Balnauran of Clava
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: