Tinkinswood (ST 092733, google map = 51.45148,-3.307781) or Siambr Gladdu Tinkinswood, also known as Castell Carreg, Llech y Filiast and Maes y Filiast.

Parts of this site and the tomb at St Lythans to the south were excavated by CADW in conjunction with the Tinkinswood Community Archaeology Project (very informative web-site) in 2011. The author was one of the BTCV volunteers who cleared the main site beforehand.

Distinguished by Britain's, and in fact Europe's, largest capstone measuring 24' (7.4m) by 14' (4.2m) this is a view of the entrance.

Impression of site (not to scale) which measures about 131' (40m) by 59' (18m).

View of tomb looking north. Limestone capstone (some 2'/0.6m thick) is supported by a brick pillar dated 1914, installed when tomb capstone cracked during 'restorative' works. One estimate assumes that 200 people would have been required to position the capstone. Photos taken about midday near winter equinox.

View of open ground to the east of tomb, curiously level given 'bumpy' nature of surrounding land, but ideal for addressing a gathering from the tomb's roof.

Notice at tomb site giving a surprisingly early date for the site given that the Ġgantija temples of Gozo in the Maltese archipelago are considered by some authorities to be the oldest surviving free standing structures in the world, erected c. 3600-2500 BC. Sea levels might have been some 12m lower at this time and much of what is now the Severn estuary would have been dry land.

View of tomb mouth (looking west) showing two stones blocking tomb mouth.

View of tomb wall (left) and tomb 'door' (right) showing differing surface textures.

View of tomb 'door', detailing scored nature of surface possibly indicating earlier ritual use.

View of smaller 'tomb' set some metres to the west of main tomb in same mound.

Images of other nearby structures can be found here.

Personal impressions of this and other sites is that these structures were constructed for the storage of the bones of the ancestors and perhaps other mortuary rites, some 920 bones, all broken, attributable to some 40 individuals being found, as has Bell-Beaker style pottery indicating use over a long period, perhaps until the early Bronze Age (the 'collapsed' dolmen south of the 'quarry' being identified as a Bronze Age cairn with a large headstone). Close by two parallel lines of stones form an avenue leading away from the tomb to the SE. To the north east lies a second avenue with a large number of stones. Due east stands a large single stone and two flat parallel standing stones (medieval stile?) point to the top of the nearby Coed Sion Hill. The bones being broken could indicate a desecration or conquest and may well not be those of the builders.

A dominant position in the countryside would have imparted title to the area. A striking example are those on the Garth some 4½ miles (7km) to the north (ST103836) set at some 1,000' (300m) asl. With lower sea-levels in older times the vista to the south must have been impressive. On a clear night beacons might be seen for miles across to England. Curiously, the area might be seen as interesting as being a boundary to successive advances of glaciers. The local geology is certainly diverse to say the least.

Stones are associated with the dead, this being the most durable marker for a grave, wood is associated with the living. At Pentre Ifan two linear arrangements of stones may act as memorials. Whilst periods existed when methods of disposal of the dead changed, sometimes profoundly, exposure is thought to have been the commonest method used to reduce the bodies. However, if memory serves, a much later intact skeleton was found in north Scotland with a considerable difference in time of death and inhumation indicating mummification.

Each surviving structure respresents the latest version of these social rites which served that community over a considerable period of time. Each indicates great care, co-operation and ingenuity. Each has preserved the original intention of expressing a profound statement to all the following humanity that have contemplated them. Each will have had an extensive oral tradition.

'Alignments' relating to Tinkinswood, compare with Cardiff alignments. Red line continues SE to Glastonbury/Street.

Below are views of the tomb near St Lythans (ST101723), some 0.87 miles/1.4km to the south east of Tinkinswood. This stands at a similar elevation (approx 225'/69m ) to that of Tinkinswood (approx 250'/76m).

Preseli Hills, Pentre Ifan, Caerau hillfort, sonics and some mythology (even Arthur).

Contact me
especially if you want additional content to this page
or if you find any links that don't work. Don't forget
to add the page title or URL. Take care!

Back to home.