The chambered cairn Barclodiad Y Gawres is the largest Neolithic tomb in Wales. It was built around the same time as the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge, somewhere between 2500 - 3000 BC. It was excavated in the 1930s and the mound reconstructed with a turf-covered concrete dome. The now hollow dome was originally solid earth. It was a public grave for the local farming community and probably acted as a focus for religious ceremonies.
Five of the interior stones are decorated with incised zigzags, lozenges and spirals, the meanings of which were clearly significant but are now unknown. Some of these markings can just be discerned on the stone in the foreground on the right of the picture. The entrance was through a long, stone-lined passage leading to a central ceremonial area. From this opened three separate burial chambers, all originally covered by large capstones. One of the capstones is visible here.
Its location overlooking the Irish Sea underlines the cultural connections between Anglesey and Ireland during the Neolithic era, since many aspects of the tomb and of its decorated stones are similar to Neolithic monuments in the Boyne Valley.
Part of the interior can be seen through the locked entrance gate, as in this picture. To view the rest requires the key which is held at nearby premises (directions there are on an information board) and which may be borrowed on payment of a returnable deposit. Use of a torch is recommended.
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