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

Graig-ddu, Black Mountains

Round Cairn


CPAT description with excavation details:
An excavated round barrow cist which is circular in form with quite steeply sloping sides and a depressed interior. The mound's perimeter is well defined although no kerbstones or ditch was visible. The sides of the mound are under turf, whilst the levelled interior exposes stone. A large sandstone slab, aligned E-W, dominates the central S area of the cairn's interior. This is presumably the remains of the cist excavated by Jones (1981); the upper most edge of this slab is all that is now exposed.

Dimensions: diameter 15.2m; height 1.2m-1.4m
(1981) A cairn 15.5m diameter, c.1.5m high with a large cist at the centre was examined. Small particles of bone and a few potshereds were found in soil in the cist, and further sherds, the rim of a large vessel with incised decoration and a barbed and tanged arrowhead were found on the cairn floor. There was no evidence of a kerb.

(1981) EXCAVATION: The removal of the part-fill of loose boulders together with C20th rubbish revealed an irregular layer of dark brown soil slopping down towards the E end. Progressive trowelling revealed no stratification, the soil being of a disturbed nature and containing burned bracken and some broken glass similar to that associated with the boulder deposits. However, there was a firmer area of soil in the angle between the easternmost orthostat and the boulder clay on which the cist had been constructed. In this undisturbed material the first and largest pottery sherd, a piece of the rim of a large, decorated, vessel was discovered. Scattered in a random manner and near the first find were other small fragments of pottery together with several fragments of bone. A tanged and barbed arrow head and other small flint flakes and artifacts also appeared in a scatter across this area.

The Cist had been constructed from sandstone slabs. The S orthostat measured 1.86m in length, 1.2m deep and was 0.075m in thickness, being set into the ground so that its upper edge was almost exactly horizontal. The N slab was 1.56m, 0.87m deep and 0.075m thick. Both these main orthostats were orientated generally E-W. Slots had been cut into the original boulder clay surface and the orthostats were held upright with small stones and earth packing. The smaller E and W slabs were not so deep set and were given additional support by small stones placed within the cist. The N orthostat had cracked under lateral pressure while that at the W end was incomplete and badly damaged. A matching portion of this slab was found lying within the cist.

All the indications were of a robbed burial, impression futher strengthened by finds made outside the cist itself and at its E end. At this point an area of the cairn boulders were cleared so that any pattern of construction could be investigated. Although the cairn proved to have been made of randomly placed boulders at this point, on the original ground surface and in close proximity to one another, were five small sherds of pottery. The loose nature of the cairn boulders would have allowed such small fragments of pottery to have percolated downwards had they been placed on the edge of the cist by the original robbers.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
18th August 2018ce

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