The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record
 

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PARC LE BREOS (PARC CWM) CHAMBERED TOMB

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00251w
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Site Type : Chambered tomb
Period : Neolithic
Community : Ilston
NGR : SS5375689828
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument

Summary :
Passage grave, excavated and reconstructed. Now appears as an entirely stone structure consisting of a main N-S gallery with two chambers on either side, all constructed mainly from orthostats with coursed drystone infill.

Description :
Passage grave, excavated and reconstructed. Now appears as an entirely stone structure consisting of a main N-S gallery with two chambers on either side, all constructed mainly from orthostats with coursed drystone infill, set in a rubble mound with a coursed drystone revetment wall, which opens to form a narrow bell-shaped forecourt at the entrance to the gallery. Built almost entirely of limestone, with occasional beach cobbles in the mound; the slabs forming the drystone walling and the mound are generally <0.3m, though some are larger. The tallest orthostat is 1.55m high. The gallery and all the chambers apart from the NE ones have stones sills, the gallery sill being placed at the inner end of the entrance orthostats and the others on the line of the gallery walls. The SW chamber measures 1.8m deep by 0.7m wide, with the others of similar size; the gallery is 6.2m long and c1.0m wide.
Finds from the tomb are summarised as follows by RCAHMW: 'Human remains found in the 1869 excavation were assessed as representing from 20 to 24 individuals, all adult except three, and disturbed successively by later burials. Apart from some animal bones, other finds were confined to a few sherds of plain Western Neolithic pottery.' 22.0x11.9m, 1.55m high GGAT 72 Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites survey 2001.

Passage burial chamber, partly restored. Part excavated 1970.
(1956) The remains of the barrow are as described above. The gallery grave and chambers are enclosed by a modern fence. The stones of the chambers are up to 1.6m high and average 0.6m thick. Some of them are supported and kept in position by iron stays.
(1966/1976) The cairn stands at about 15 m above OD, on the floor of a narrow valley which has been cut through limestone formations towards Oxwich Bay 2km to the S. The drainage is now subterranean at this point, but surface water has at some time eroded the NE and SE corners of the cairn.
The long axis of the cairn bears 5 degrees W of S. Its main component is limestone rubble in pieces up to 0.4 m across, retained by two parallel drystone revetments 0.8 m apart, of which the inner is of rougher build than the outer, and stops 3.5 m short of the N end. The neatly coursed outer revetment is slightly battered, and is preserved to a height of 0.3 m at the N end, increasing to about a metre at the S, and defines a wedge - shaped cairn 22.2 m long tapering from 12.4 m at its widest part to 6.3 m at its N end. The sides and N end are virtually straight, while the S end has a bell-shaped forecourt about 2 m wide recessed to a depth of about 4.5m between convex terminals of slightly unequal length. Stone rubble filled the forecourt and extended beyond the side walls of the cairn to a distance of about 1.5 m , but there was no evidence to suggest that this had been deliberately added for stability or concealment
The tomb itself is built of upright limestone slabs from 15 to 35cm thick, split in two cases, with fine dry walling filling irregular spaces between them.The rectangular layout comprises a gallery 6.2 m long and about 1m wide , leading directly from the forecourt, and two pairs of transeptal chambers averaging 1.6 m long E-W by 1.0 m internally. Three of the chambers are entered over low sill stones set in gaps between the side members of the gallery, but the SW chamber has no sill stone, and the two N chambers have additional sills about 0.5 m from their entrances. The gallery has a sill 0.3 m high , set 1m from the forecourt at the inner end of the first pair of slabs, which thus serve as portal stones (that on the east has been supplied in restoration). The uprights of the gallery are up to 1.5 m high, but of the chambers are generally less than 1m. No capstones are recorded, but the suggestion that any roofing was entirely corbelled should be regarded with caution.
Human remains found in the 1869 excavation were assessed as representing from 20 to 24 individuals, all adult except three, and disturbed successively by later burials. Apart from some animal bones, other finds were confined to a few sherds of plain Western Neolithic pottery. ( Source 04 )
(1997) Re- reading the RCAHMW description, it seems likely that this barrow was ' decommissioned ' at the end of its useful life in the same way as is suggested by the excavated evidence at sites such as Gwernvale. ( Source 25 )

Sources :
01/ Cadw ref No. 19/1832/GM122(SWA)G: Lubbock/1870:
02/ CPAT forest enterprise project phase II 1998
03/ Forest Enterprise Welsh Heritage Assets Project Phase II
04/ PM list// RCAHM// 1976/ Glam Invent/ p 35 No 36
05/ PH Excavation Report// Lubbock/ J/ 1871/ Arch Camb/ pp 168 - 172
06/ PM Desc text/ / Daniel/ G/ 1937/ PPS 111/ pp 71 - 86
07/ MM Photo/ GAT/ Lewis/ W/ 1979 - 1980/
08/ PM Desc text// Savory/ HN/ 1973/ An illustrated guide to the Ancient Monuments of Wales/ Prehistory p 12
09/ PM Desc text/ / Hughes/ HH/ 1937/ Arch Camb/ ' Parc le Breos Gower p 175
10/ PM list// Grimes/ WF/ 1931/ BBCS/ Vol VI Pt 1 , pp 58 - 9
11/ PM Desc text// Rix/ M/ 1936/ Arch Camb/ Parc le Breos Vol XCI p 321 - 3
12/ PH Letter/ RISW/ TIRO// 1871/ Arch Camb/ Vol II series 4 p 283
13/ MM Record sheet/ RCAHM/// 1982//
14/ PM Desc text// Grimes/ WF/ 1931 , 32/ Neath Ant. Soc ./ p 90 , 93.
15/ PM Desc text// Savory/ HN/ 1961/ Arch in Wales/ No. 1/
16/ PM Mention//// 1981// Arch Camb/ Vol. CXXX Report of the Annual Meeting 1980 pp 153 - 161
17/ MM Desc text/ CADW/ Burnham/ HB/ 1985/ AM 107/
18/ PM Desc text/ Grimes/ WF/ 1984/ Glam. County Hist. Vol II/ p 143 - 144.
19/ MM Map/ CADW/ / 1987// 1 : 2500/
20/ MMAP/ GGAT/ Parkhouse J/ 12.2.88/ A62 14, 16, 17, 18 , 20 - 22//
21/ MM Desc text/ Neo. Studies Group & Lithic Studies Group joint Conference/ Whittle ar/ 1988/ Flint & stone in Neo. Britain/ Parc Cwm
22/ MM Desc text/ CADW/ Burnham/ HB/ 1989/ AM107
23/ PM Mention// Owen John/ HS/ 1990/ From Antiquarianism to Archaeology
24/ MMAP/ GGAT // 1991/ A 108 - 44 - 45 - 46
25/ MM Desc text/ CADW/ Burnham/ HB/ 1997/ AM 107
Forest Enterprise Welsh Heritage Assets Project Phase II
Cadw ref No. 19/1832/GM122(SWA)G: Lubbock/1870:
CPAT forest enterprise project phase II 1998

Events :
E000601 : PARC LE BREOS (PARC CWM) CHAMBERED TOMB, PARTIAL EXCAVATION, (year : 1870)

Related PRNs :


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