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


Burial Chamber


I used to view these 'earthfast', 'sub-megalithic' burial chambers as not worth the effort of visiting. That I was wrong is, I think, self evident; not least since even the remnants of a largely destroyed monument still serve to focus attention upon the landscape it once formed a part of. Yeah, for me location will always be the primary attribute of a prehistoric site... so it depends upon where the tombs are....

It goes without saying that the Garnwnda chamber is exquisitely placed, overlooking, as it does, the justifiably famed northern Pembrokeshire coastline. That much can be surmised by anyone who can - ahem - read a map, after all. What isn't so obvious, however, is the size and sheer aesthetic beauty of the capstone supported upon its single orthostat. Hey, this mighty stone doesn't need any additional, supporting acts... not when it puts in an oscar winning performance of such magnitude just by remaining upon this hillside. No need for any pretensions here. It's an impressive, substantial tomb appearing to emanate from the very crag upon which it was built. In a way, I guess, it did.

Nevertheless it is the location which elevates Garnwnda to the status of a megalithic 'must see' for me. Despite the overcast weather, the fine hillfort of Garn Fawr crowning a somewhat murky skyline to the approx west, this tomb speaks volumes.... much of which it would perhaps not be prudent to try and put into words. Even assuming I've understood, of course. Suffice to say it feels 'right' to be here, you know? It is not a 'pretty' spot, the gorse and brambles not at all out of place in a landscape which might well be labelled brutal. But nature is brutal by nature (ha!). And Garnwnda seems to me to reflect what its builders thought about their relationship with the earth. Perhaps such a relationship was too intense for a 21st Century mindset to begin to comprehend millennia after the fact? However I think we - from the vantage point of a 'modern world' which has no doubt reduced our capability for sensory perception - underestimate these people at our peril. There may well be much to learn at places such as Garnwnda which is not only relevant, but possibly essential to the future of our species? Here's to insight, then. In whatever form it may take.
22nd March 2011ce
Edited 22nd March 2011ce

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