Scenes From The Realm Of Ancestors


Two thousand years ago the people who lived within the mountain hillfort of Carn Ingli (seen here in the distance) would have looked down on this 5,500 year-old chambered tomb of Pentre Ifan. Back then, the Neolithic burial cairn was probably mostly intact, still covered with an earth mound and extending some 120 feet (36 metres). Over the centuries most of the stones have been removed, most likely for wall and house building; only the most immovable stones remain. The capstone is reckoned to weigh 16 tonnes and is supported on the tips of three larger-than-man-size stones.

However you think about it, this tomb is an extraordinary feat of construction by people who only had tools made of stone, wood and bone. In the next photo I have included men (near and far) to give some sense of scale – height and original tomb length. The burial place, probably used for successive interments and not only for one individual, is also in sight of the sea, the harbour inlet at Parrog, Newport, which may well have been used by trading boat as far back as the Neolithic.

I’m wondering what the ancestors would think of us now: the age when folly and ignorance finally ‘triumphed’ over wisdom?




Six Word Saturday

53 thoughts on “Scenes From The Realm Of Ancestors

      1. Teasing…I’m more a fan of rocks and hand-me-down stories than 1’s and 0’s, personally…

      2. Tis! And to you and G my friend! Keep up the yarn spinning please, it reminds me of your lovely countryside there!

    1. Yes, Su, we’re so good on ‘bigger and better’. And yes, you are surely right – we’ve ever had the capacity to act like complete idiots, but back then there were maybe wise men and women whose words were attended to and respected.

  1. An interesting question. Those ancient places do have an energy that makes us question the way we live now. We have achieved much but, on the other hand, we have lost much.

    1. I’m thinking too many of our achievements are having negative consequences; though there’s still a chance that human ingenuity will get itself on the right track – for the good of many rather than for the few.

      1. Yes it can be very depressing at the moment. Human ingenuity might pull us through but then again it might destroy us! I’m retreating into observer mode for a bit…

  2. I think our ancestors would be absolutely terrified. They certainly didn’t have any general policy for looking after the place; but there were fewer of them. Did you know that fairies have allegedly been seen dancing around Pentre Ifan?

  3. Very similar to the alignments at Carnac, which I’m sorry to say have been fenced off. Too much “folly and ignorance” left the site in near shambles I hear.

    1. I remember Carnac decades ago. Went to the Festival des menhirs in August. The stones were all overgrown with grass, but then there was an evening candle-lit procession from the town church to the stones. After which there was a firework display which set the grass on fire and then the attending fire engine and firemen got the best applause for putting out the blaze. I thought it was a very interesting form of heritage management. Shame if they’ve been fenced off and neglected. They’re every bit as important as Stonehenge.

      1. Absolutely as important. Or as a circular thing near “Doblin” the name of which I forgot. Problem is crowds and education. Too many people were just visiting, climbing on the stones, littering, probably tagging… So the fencing off I understand was for protection. Oh. Well.

      2. I think it’s Newgrange. I was particularly struck by the triskel motif near the entrance. (3 spirals?). The triskel is a very strong motif in Brittany. I had a triskel silver ring my mother had given me when I was a teen. Both my parents were from Brittany. If you ‘re not familiar with the triskel motif, here it is:
        (Wikipedia I’m afraid).

      3. It’s a fascinating motif. Newgrange is one of the Ireland’s oldest and most spectacular chambered tombs (I think). Could well be contemporary with Carnac. I also think there would have been much movement across the Celtic coastal lands, from the Iberian peninsula to Orkney in Scotland. For some reason we can’t seem to imagine that these stone age peoples would also have been good at making and using boats.

      4. True. Hadn’t thought of that. And those seas, as we both know are rough seas. I don’t think rafts would have “cut it”. And you’re right one forgets the “Spanish Celts”, but they have bagpipes too. 🙂
        Be good Tish.

  4. Ha! I laughed out loud at our ‘ancestors’ view’ of the present age as one where ‘folly and ignorance finally ‘triumphed’ over wisdom? Indeed. It has come to that. Amazing to see what our ancestors could construct with their limited toolsets and what we can destroy with our advanced contrivances.

    1. Indeed. What a toolkit we have these days. And how much death and horror we create with it, and mostly in other people’s backyards. Which means that somehow the governments responsible (and that would often include mine) never seem to have to be answerable to the general public.

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