Presaddfed Burial Chambers (4000 - 3000 BC)

OS Map ref: SH34768089
53.299120, -4.480991

Sitting in a meadow on a low lying valley near a marshy lake the chambers of Presaddfed are something of a quandry to archaeoloigists. Their design resembles that of passage graves on the island and elsewhere, but these are virtually exclusively situated on higher ground.

The close proximity of the two chambers could suggest that the northern, now collapsed, stones formed part of the passage to the larger chamber. However this cannot be the case as the northern support stone (orthostat) of the huge capstone of the larger chamber would have blocked this passage. Most historians writing on the matter in the past have concurred that they were passage graves with entrances to both tombs lying on the eastern side.

However these chambers were habitually covered with stones and earth to make a cairn and these two are so close to each other that they would have had to be covered by the same cairn. This may suggest that the chambers formed a gallery grave. Frances Lynch, a leading modern archaeologist on North Wales wrote " unlikely in view of its low-lying position, and would tentatively suggest that it may have been a series of closed chambers and should possibly be linked with the 'long graves'..., this monument is incapable of satisfactory interpretation"[1].

Pictures I have seen from as far back as autumn 2000 show a wooden frame supporting the capstone at the north end where there is only a single orthostat. Those from Autumn 2010 show the frame still there, but just leaning against the upright stone. Now (September 2011) it is no longer present nor, would it seem, necessary.

Two different drawings from both the early and the mid 19th century show the collapsed capstone of the northern chamber in a more elevated position, so it must have slipped over the last 200 years as can be seen on the right. These sketches also show that the other capstone was only supported by three of the four stones it now rests on, there being a gap of several inches to the eastward orthostat.

There is a story about the intact tomb by the great historian Rev. John Skinner, writing about his legendary 10 day tour of Anglesey on foot in December 1802[2], "under this cromlech we were informed a whole family who had been ejected from their habitation sought shelter during the last winter".

From A55 junction 5, take B5112 to Trefor (2.5 miles). Turn left along B5109 towards Bodedern. After 2.5 miles turn right signposted Presaddfed Shooting Club for about half a mile. Park on the left of the road and walk up the shooting club drive opposite. The chambers are in the field to the left with kissing gate and currently mown path across the field.

(click on a thumbnail to view the larger picture and enter film strip viewer) or see my Presaddfed slideshow movie on YouTube

References / Further Reading
[1] Powell, Corcoran, Lynch, Scott. Megalithic Enquiries in the West of Britain 1969 (pp 123)
[2] Skinner, John. Ten Days Tour through The Isle of Anglesey 1802 (pp 50)
Presaddfed (siambr gladdu) - Wicipedia (in Welsh)


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Excellent photographs. Thanks for sharing such a valuable collections

Harry Hilders said...

I wish I would be able to see these Burial Chambers in real. These objects always fascinated me. Thank you for sharing the photos.

JoeGeePhotography said...

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erotic calendars said...

Great shots, you make great use of the prevailing light.

fotograf nunta said...

Great blog! Beautiful pictures and interesting text! Congrats, I am really fascinated by the Paleolithic period

Bran Deditems said...

We our loved ones crossed the other side we always want to visit the place where they are laid to rest. It is evident that early humans even do this kind of practice and this just proves that our love for our fellow humans continue even after death.

digital-camera-user said...

Very eerie. I like this type of shot.

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Norfolk Wedding Photographer said...

Having grown up in the West Penwith region of Cornwall, I'm stuck by the similarity of these burial chambers to Lanyon Quoit, which is a dolmen. It was brought down by a storm in the early 1800s and it was reconstructed with only 3 uprights rather than 4. I would be interested to know what other similarities there are.

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