These few massive stones are all that remains of a 5,500 year old chambered tomb. Originally it extended some 120 feet (36 metres), the whole structure covered by an earth mound. It must have looked spectacular, dominating the uplands above Cardigan Bay. When I took this photo I was also taken with the rather searching stance of the man at the fence. I spoke to him later. He told me he had been so keen to reach the monument after parking his car, he had dived across the nearest farm field instead of discovering the official footpath, and thus found himself on the wrong side of a barbed wire fence. He was trying to see if he could climb over. We both decided it looked too risky. And then he told me about his awe-inspiring visit to the Great Pyramid. A man clearly much moved by ancient places.
For more photos: Scenes from the realms of ancestors
Cee’s Black & White Challenge: stones or bricks
The remaining stones of this ancient burial chamber sit in their own grassy sanctuary amid a little enclave of holiday bungalows in Newport. The Cadw noticeboard (the official Welsh heritage service that cares for such monuments) says it was built around 6,000 years ago. Long ago excavations inside the tomb uncovered cremated bone, stone tools and pottery belonging to the Neolithic period. These days the huge capstone balances on only two of the four upright stones. Once, too, the whole structure would have been covered by a mound of earth as at Pentre Ifan.
Carreg Coetan is one of several similar tombs along the River Nevern valley, all lying in sight of the craggy top of Carn Ingli mountain. That it survives now so well embraced by 21st century domesticity is either heartening or incongruous depending on your view. I rather like it. It reminded me of Brittany and coming upon a similar burial chamber that had been incorporated into the structure of a farmyard shed, the capstone providing a substantial door lintel, and elsewhere a long barrow whose gallery served as the crypt for a village church built in medieval times. It could anyway be timely to tap into some ancestral thinking. I feel they might tell us to review our values and pdq.
Line Squares #10