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Hirdrefaig (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I couldn't get the link to work for archwilio (Gwynedd archaeological trust website)
So I have added what they say here:

Description :
Recorded 6" OS.

Maen Hir, 500 SE Hirdrefaig 8 1/4' high x 4' x 1 3/4', with packing stones at base.

As described by RCAHM. Published survey 25" correct.

Somewhat blocky slab with a pronounced lean to W. Local igneous stone with quartz veins. Packing stones on W side. Stands on a rounded E-W ridge - ridge obscures view to EW somewhat. Visible for some distance on both sides of the ridge - most on N & NW where it is on skyline for some places.

The monument comprises a large standing stone that probably dates to the Bronze Age (c.2300 - 800 BC). It is located within an enclosed field of improved pasture on an E-W aligned ridge. The standing stone measures 2.5m tall, 1.4m wide and 0.5m in depth. It is aligned N-S and has a weathered surface. The stone leans to the W. There are packing stones visible on the W side. The stone is made of a local igneous rock and is notable for its quartz veins.

A standing stone of probable Bronze Age date. The stone is 2.5m tall, 1.4m wide and 0.5m deep. It is aligned north-south and has a weathered surface and rectangular profile with parallel sides that rise to a bluntly rounded point.

Sources :
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd & Anglesey , Smith, G. , 2003 ,
SH47SE , Ordnance Survey , 1963 ,
Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Anglesey , Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments , 1937 ,
SH47SE 12 , Ordnance Survey , 1970 ,
Prehistoric Anglesey , Lynch, F. , 1970 ,
Hirdre-Faig Standing Stone , Cadw , 2006 ,
Hirdre-Faig Standing Stone , Berry, J. , 2006 ,
Gwalchmai Booster to Bodffordd Link Water Main and Llangefni to Penmynydd Replacement , Evans, R. T. J. , 2008 ,

Events :
40758 : Gwalchmai Booster to Bodffordd Link Water Main and Llangefni to Penmynydd Replacement (year : 2008)
40526 : Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd/Anglesey (year : 2003)

Hendre Waelod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

I've looked really closely at Kammer's old photographs below and in the 2nd photo it looks very much as though there was another tall stone flanking the Northern Portal stone. There is a stone probably cut down on the southern side.

Frances Lynch says of this site.

"This is he only one of the Conwy Valley portal dolmens with the traditional high portal stones- in this case, originally 3m high and probably covered by a separate lintel, now lost. The chamber behind is large but rather low, covered by an enormous capstone which has slipped to the North. Access from the portal to the chamber is blocked by a low slab which can be seen by crawling under the capstone.
The tomb stands on a sloping site and the soil has engulfed the bottom of the portal stones and filled the forecourt area. One stone of a possible facade flanking the entrance is visible on the south. The remains of a long cairn can be traced by the line of stones in the footing of the fence."

Michael Senior in his book Cromlechs and Cairns of northern Wales says that the capstone is estimated to weigh some 22 tons.

Moel Faban Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

I know these features really well. I walk passed them every week while walking the dogs.

I've always thought that they were cairns. But I've looked on Coflein and GAT and found nothing about them.

They are not marked on the OS map as cairns. So I have been baffled. Clearly man made and very obvious they have had me scratching my head for a while.

Then I thought they are bound to mentioned on TMA, but no.

But then on Coflein I was reading about the settlement when I realised that the outlying structures to the North of the settlement (mentioned in Gladmans post) are these. Coflein suggest that they may be cairns.
I guess they are marked on the OS map as part of the settlement.

So I have added some pictures. They are on the North east slope of Moel faban just above the settlement.

Cefn Graenog Cairn II (Cairn(s))

This from the GAT HER page:

Cairn, S of Bwthyn Graeanog
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 225
Trust : Gwynedd
Site Type : CAIRN
Period : Bronze Age
Community : Clynnog
NGR : SH45504913
Legal Protection :

Description :
A damaged cairn of earth and stones 1.3m high and about 18m in diameter. Condition: mutilated by ploughing.

Cairn 1.0m high. Surveyed at 1:2500.

Telegraph pole on mound, now oval, used as a stone dump.

Threat of quarrying avented.

Description of clearance a reinstatement work (this is the south cairn).

A large topsoil dump and modern field clearance were removed from two cairns at Cefn Graeanog, Clynnog, Gwynedd in September 1989, as part of land restoration, following gravel extraction by Penrhyn Quarries Ltd. (a division of Alfred McAlpine Quarry Products Ltd.) As well as being scheduled ancient monuments the standing stone and cairns had been protected from quarrying by a section 52 agreement under the Town and Country Planning Act between the Quarry and the GCC Planning Department. Unfortunately, during preliminary land reinstatement work at the end of 1988, part of the north cairn was accidently occluded with a large topsoil dump, whilst the south cairn, already showing evidence of machine damage and obscured by boulders, had its west edges graded down to below subsoil level. Ensuing clearance and reinstatement work agreed between CADW and the Quarry was undertaken by GAT, mainly by machine but with the addition of a hand dug 3x 1m trench on the west edge of the south cairn to establish the precise extent of the disturbance caused by the grading and to locate the edge of the cairn and see whether or not there was a kerb. G2130-504 and G2130-503 digitized form on U:G2130.

A rather vague, irregular low mound, much damaged in the past and then partly restored by R. S. Kelly in 1989. Some of original cairn was shown to survive so buried features may exist.

Monument de-scheduled, and will be omitted from the statutory list of ancient monuments.

Sources :
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd & Anglesey , SMITH, G. , 2003 ,

Llanfechell (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From Welsh Rock Art Organisation website.

Llanfechell (East) Standing Stone (NGR SH 370 916)
Following the recent collapse of a standing stone (or menhir) at Llanfechell, near Cemaes, north Anglesey in late 2009, researchers have been given a rare insight into the symbolic nature of standings stones, one of Western Britain's most enigmatic monument types. The fallen stone was probably the result of a combination of long-term inclement Welsh weather and cattle-rubbing.

This Scheduled Monument (SAM An 80, PRN 3048) site is set within a busy prehistoric landscape that also includes the Cromlech Dolmen (ANG 15), a series of standing stones (including the triangular setting of three stones at Llanfechell [NGR SH364917]) and recently discovered cupmarks on rock-outcropping (Nash et al. 2005). The standing stone, according to Cadw would have stood around 2m in height, with a further 0.50m buried and incorporated into a set of packing stones.

Following its collapse in 2009, Cadw requested Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT), the regional monitoring authority to re-erect the stone, all 4.6 tons of it (Smith & Hopewell 2011)! In January 2010, the stone was moved from its prostrate position in order that the socket hole and the immediate area could be archaeologically investigated; initially by geophysical survey (by David Hopewell), then followed by targeted excavation (by George Smith). The excavation revealed at least 20 packing stones within the socket pit. On one of the faces of a large packing stone measuring approximately 0.80 x 0.95 x 0.50 m was a pecked cup-and-ring and a single cupmark. The cup-and-ring, measuring c. 10cm in diameter is probably the first recorded in North Wales and can therefore be considered an important discovery. Previously, the nearest cup-and-ring carvings were to be found at the Calderstones monument in Calderstone Park, Liverpool and on the base of the Robin Hood's Stone, a standing stone located several kilometers to the south-west of the Calderstones. Located on the same face is a single cupmark which is oval shaped, measuring c. 0.80m by 0.3.5cm.

As part of the research agenda, Ben Stern (University of Bradford) undertook organic residue analysis from within the engraved areas in order to test the possibility of the engraved areas being once painted, however the results were negative (no lipids found within the two samples taken).

The reason why a stone with a cup-and-ring (and cupmark) should be buried within a packing features for a standing stone is unclear, however there are a number of plausible reasons why such a potent symbol might be buried. It could be the case that the stone [fragment] (with the cup-and-ring) originates from another monument and this may have stood on the site; becoming redundant, later destroyed and pieces of it incorporated into construction of a new monument (i.e. the standing stone). It could be the case that the new stone may have represented a new ritualised ideology (e.g. similar to the fate of a 10m menhir with rock art which appears to have been deliberately broken-up and incorporated into three Brittany passage graves). Alternatively, it may be that in order to legitimise the standing stone, a decorated stone fragment was buried during a ceremony associated with either the initial use of the monument or it may have an association with a pit that lay beneath the packing stones. The pit at Llanfechell contained a dark humic soil with charcoal which may relate to an offering or some form of feasting event, prior to the erection of the standing stone. The date of this sub-surface activity is however difficult to ascertain, possibly associated with Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age ritual activity. Despite this speculation, the GAT team have retrieved one radiocarbon date of around 400-700 BCE from carbonised material which is much later than the expected date for the use of the monument. However, similar to other monuments of this type in Wales, there is more than one history attached.

The standing stone (minus the cup-and-ring packing stone) was re-erected in September 2010, whilst the engraved packing stone was placed in the care of Oriel Ynys Môn (museum). The cup-and-ring and single cupmark is carved on a laminated Protozoic mica schist.

Mein Hirion (Standing Stones)

I just found this interesting information about the area around Llanfechell.

Llandegai Cursus

Sadly nothing can be seen here.

I did a short course on the archeology of Gwynedd when I first moved here in 1995. The tutor who worked for G.A.T told us that during the excavations in the 1960's all the finds were lost. In his words they are probably sitting in a carrier bag in the cupboard under someones sink!

Recent excavations in a nearby field turned up lots of interest and can be found here:

Moel Faban Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Walking back along the track from the burnt mound I looked to my left and saw what looks alot to me like a saddle quern.

I have seen examples of saddle querns that are much smaller. But have also read that some are quite large and set in the earth. I wondered if this might be one of those.

The "rim" across the bottom is more obvious in real life.

Considering that the area is absolutely peppered with hut circles it seems that it could possibly be a quern.

Burnt Stone Mound Moel Faban.

There is a typical burnt stone mound beside a stream on the north east of Moel Faban.

The mound is horse shoe shaped, surrounding a rectangular patch of rushes which indicates the position of the boiling trough. The whole is enclosed by a low bank.

This may have been the cooking place for the occupants of the round houses but maybe earlier Bronze age.

Meat was cooked in water brought to the boil by throwing heated stones into the trough.

Moel Faban Arrow Stone (Carving)

This is a quote from an artical written by Col. A Lane.
"On the opening of two Cairns near Bangor N, Wales"

"Further to the south stands the curiosly marked stone called "Carreg Saethau" The incised lines upon which are believed to have been made by the old people in sharpening thier metal arrow heads"

The Journal of the Ethological Society of London (1869-1870)
vol 2 (1870) pp 306-324
published by Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.


The Gwynedd archeological Trust have added

There is another stone, which also has the same odd markings, also situated about 3 yards from the stream at SH63336774, commanding excellent views down to Bethesda and across to Anglesey.

I have searched for this stone quite extensively but cannot find it in this location. The only one I could find was a large boulder with another resting on top of it. The markings on these stones all looked natural to me. Apart from a quite deep circular hole, possible cup?
I have taken pics of this.
Lucky to live at the base of Moel Faban in the lovely Gwynedd countryside.

My TMA Content: