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Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00374s
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Community : St Nicholas and Bonvilston
NGR : ST0922473315
Site Type (preferred type first) : Neolithic Long barrow
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument

Summary :
The Tinkinswood chambered tomb has been extensively studied and described by modern scholars, although the majority of information is derived from Ward's excavation (Ward 1915). The state of the monument has not changed since the RCAHMW description was m

Description :
The Tinkinswood chambered tomb has been extensively studied and described by modern scholars, although the majority of information is derived from Ward's excavation (Ward 1915). The state of the monument has not changed since the RCAHMW description was made in 1976, which reads as follows:
The cairn is 40m long on an axial bearing of 74 degrees, with straight sides diverging slightly from a width of 16.2m at the W end, which is also straight, to 17.8m at the E end, which curves inwards from square corners (as restored from inadequate evidence in Ward's excavations) to form a funnel-shaped fore-court. This outline is defined by well laid dry-stone walling of locally quarried sandy limestone, which was revealed standing to a maximum height of 0.9m when excavated, and probably reached 1.3m originally, if the excavator was correct in regarding all stone in the talus as fallen material; he interpreted the outward displacement and tilt of the extant walling as due to soil pressure, and rejected the possibility of deliberate concealment by extra-revetment material, as observed at some other sites.
The sides of the fore-court decrease in curvature from a width of about 8m to a final width of 4.3m at 5.3m from the end of the cairn, against the E wall of the megalithic chamber. The chamber itself is almost rectangular, about 5m long E-W by at least 3.5m, walled with massive upright slabs except on the S side, which was destroyed by early stone robbers. An inserted pillar now assists in supporting the single capstone, estimated to weigh about 40 metric tonnes, which is pitched gently upward and thickens to the E to enhance its frontal appearance. The internal height of the back of the chamber was 1.5m from original ground level. The use of dry walling to fill gaps between uprights is also attested at the NE corner.

The outer side of the E chamber wall, facing the forecourt, was probably concealed to its full height originally by a stone-faced bank of rubble about 0.6m thick at the base and having a considerable batter, which survives to more than a metre high. The entrance to the chamber was at its NE corner, by a slab-lined passage 0.8m wide leading through this bank. The upper part of the northern member of this chamber wall beyond projects so as to form a rough arch, of which the height has been reduced to about 0.7m by movement from the N. In clearance of the passage, slabs of suitable size for a true lintel and for a door were found, the latter having been trimmed to an oblong shape 0.94 by 0.76m, to fit in a basal slot between two stones of the rough paving.

A detailed examination of the main body of cairn material showed it to consist of local limestone and mudstone blocks generally ranging in size up to about a metre across, the heaviest being those forming a supporting packing around the chamber. There was also a roughly built backing to the outer revetment, with which it formed a band about 1.5m thick overall. The interior contained two series of transverse lines of upright stones set on the ground surface, not always contiguously, measuring up to 0.6m thick and 0.8m high. These divided the N and S halves of the cairn into compartments about 2m wide, which were not exactly opposed, and were only detected in the W end. The filling of rubble tended to be pitched toward the centre of the cairn, and appeared to have been capped, at a level top about 1.2m high, with a clayey soil which had been eroded into the rubble below.

The slabs used in building the main chamber could have been obtained from a quarry nearby, but it is possible that some at least already lay exposed on the site. In the middle of the N half of the cairn was a secondary pit about 2.9m square, lined with thin upright slabs, which were mostly broken, and were missing from the S side. Several large blocks of mudstone lying on top of the cairn to N and W of this pit had probably been removed from the original ground surface, for similar blocks were observed at the base of the cairn elsewhere in the N half and SE of the chamber, indicating the incorporation of a natural scatter of such material.

Finds from the excavation included a large quantity of human and animal bones, many having been thrown out of the chamber when its S side was destroyed, but even those burials contained in undisturbed deposits were disarticulated. They represented at least 50 individuals of which 8 were certainly juvenile, 21 female and 16 male. Pottery found with the bones included fragments of bowls of neolithic ware, some of which lay on the floor of the forecourt in front of the entrance, while fragments of a vessel in Beaker style indicated comparatively Late Neolithic use of the chamber. Stone implements included a flint lance-head from the original surface under the cairn. The secondary pit was not certainly sepulchral in purpose, since it only contained animal bones, though some human remains lay close by. Later use of the chamber, at least for shelter, is suggested by a bone gaming die of early Iron Age type and by Romano-British and medieval pottery.

(?) Cairn is 40m long, with straight sides diverging slightly from a width of 10.2m at the W end to 17.8m at the E end, which curves inwards from square corners to form a funnel-shaped forecourt.

Reference: Ward, J, 1915, '##', Archaeologia Cambrensis ##, 253-320.
Dimensions: Dimensions not known.
(1968/1976) Chambered Long Cairn, Tinkinswood, the cairn stands at 75m above OD on ground which declines gently to the SW at the head of the river Waycock. It was carefully excavated in 1914, and has since been consolidated and taken into State Guardianship.

The cairn is 40m long on an axial bearing of 74 degrees, with straight sides diverging slightly from a width of 16.2m at the W end, which is also straight, to 17.8m at the E end, which curves inwards from square corners (as restored from inadequate evidence in Wards excavations) to form a funnel-shaped fore-court. This outline is defined by well laid dry-stone walling of locally quarried sandy limestone, which was revealed standing to a maximum height of 0.9m when excavated, and probably reached 1.3m originally, if the excavator was correct in regarding all stone in the talus as fallen material; he interpreted the outward displacement and tilt of the extant walling as due to soil pressure, and rejected the possibility of deliberate concealment by extra-revetment material, as observed at some other sites.

The sides of the fore-court decrease in curvature from a width of about 8m to a final width of 4.3m at 5.3m from the end of the cairn, against the E wall of the megalithic chamber. The chamber itself is almost rectangular, about 5m long E-W by at least 3.5m, walled with massive upright slabs except on the S side, which was destroyed by early stone robbers. An inserted pilar now assists in supporting the single capstone, estimated to weigh about 40 metric tons, which is pitched gently upward and thickens to the E to enhance its frontal appearance. The internal height of the back of the chamber was 1.5m from original ground level. The use of dry walling to fill gaps between uprights is also attested at the NE corner.

The outer side of the E chamber wall, facing the forecourt, was probably concealed to its full height originally by a stone-faced bank of rubble about 0.6m thick at the base and having a considerable batter, which survives to more than a metre high. The entrance to the chamber was at its NE corner, by a slab-lined passage 0.8m wide leading through this bank. The upper part of the northern member of this chamber wall beyond projects so as to form a rough arch, of which the height has been reduced to about 0.7m by movement from the N. In clearance of the passage, slabs of suitable size for a true lintel and for a door were found, the latter having been trimmed to an oblong shape 0.94 by 0.76m, to fit in a basal slot between two stones of the rough paving.

A detailed examination of the main body of cairn material showed it to consist of local limestone and mudstone blocks generally ranging in size up to about a metre across, the heaviest being those forming a supporting packing around the chamber. There was also a roughly built backing to the outer revetment, with which it formed a band about 1.5m thick overall. The interior contained two series of transverse lines of upright stones set on the ground surface, not always contiguously, measuring up to 0.6m thick and 0.8m high. These divided the N and S halves of the cairn into compartments about 2m wide, which were not exactly opposed, and were only detected in the W end. The filling of rubble tended to be pitched toward the centre of the cairn, and appeared to have been caped, at a level top about 1.2m high, with a clayey soil which had been eroded into the rubble below.

The slabs used in building the main chamber could have been obtained from a quarry nearby, but it is possible that some at least already lay exposed on the site. In the middle of the N half of the cairn was a secondary pit about 2.9m square, lined with thin upright slabs, which were mostly broken, and were missing from the S side. Several large blocks of mudstone lying on top of the cairn to N and W of this pit had probably been removed from the original ground surface, for similar blocks were observed at the base of the cairn elsewhere in the N half and SE of the chamber, indicating the incorporation of a natural scatter of such material.

Finds from the excavation included a large quantity of human and animal bones, many having been thrown out of the chamber when its S side was destroyed, but even those burials contained in undisturbed deposits were disarticulated. They represented at least 50 individuals of which 8 were certainly juvenile, 21 female and 16 male. Pottery found with the bones included fragments of bowls of neolithic ware, some of which lay on the floor of the forecourt in front of the entrance, while fragments of a vessel in beaker style indicated comparatively late neolithic use of the chamber. Stone implements included a flint lance-head from the original surface under the cairn. The secondary pit was not certainly sepulchral in purpose, since it only contained animal bones, though some human remains lay close by. Later use of the chamber, at least for shelter, is suggested by a bone gaming die of early iron-age type and by Romano-British and medieval pottery.

(?) Cairn is 40m long, with straight sides diverging slightly from a width of 10.2m at the W end to 17.8m at the E end, which curves inwards from square corners to form a funnel-shaped forecourt.
GGAT 72 Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Project 2003

Sources :
Pearson, A F and Lewis, R , 2003 , Prehistoric funerary and ritual sites. Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan
Cadw , Cadw Scheduled Ancient Monument Record
, OS Record Card
Ferrell, G. , 1989 , Archaeology in and Around the Bonvilston and St Nicholas Area
Pm desc text/Evans EM/2003/GGAT 72 Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Project
02/PM Excavation Report/Ward S/1915/Arch Camb/p253
01/MM Record Card/OS/1970/ST 07 SE 19
04/MM Photo/GGAT/Lewis W/1979-80
03/PM List/RCAHM/1976/Glamorgan Invent/p36 no40
07/PH Desc Text/Arch Camb/1849/Vol4 No16 pp327-8
08/PM Mention/GGAT/Robinson D/1980/Cowbridge/p8
06/PM List/Savory HN/1955/Bull Board Celtic Stud/vol16 pt3 pp215-41
05/PM Desc Text/Savory HN/1973/Illustrated Guide to the Ancient Monuments of Wales p12
14/PM Desc Text/Keith A/1915/Arch Camb/6th series volXVI ptII pp268-284
19/MM Photo/GGAT/Griffiths B/1983
23/MM Photo/GGAT/1987
12/PM Mention/Bernfield WK/1961-3/Trans Cardiff Nat Soc vol91 p21
13/PM Desc Text/Piggott S/1931/Arch Journal vol88 p67
11/MM Record Card/OS/1979/ST 07 SE 19
10/PM Desc Text/Cadw/Whittle E/1989/AM107
17/PH Desc Text/1874/Trans Cardiff Nat Soc volVI pp73-78
18/PM Desc Text/Grimes WF/1931-32/Neath Ant Soc pp90,93
22/PM List/RCAHM/1984/Glamorgan Invent volII pp140-2
21/MM Record Card/OS/1982/ST 07 SE 19
16/PH Desc Text/Lukis JW/1875/Arch Camb/vol6 noXXII pp171-85
15/PM Desc Text/Wheeler REM/1921/BBCS/volI ptI pp65-6
20/PM Mention/Powell TGE/1973/Archaeologia vol104
09/PM Desc Text/Savory HN/1949/Tinkinswood and St Lythans Long Cairns
11/Pm Desc Text/Archaeology in and Around the Bonvilston and St Nicholas Area/Access Archaeology/1989/SMR Report Archive

Events :
E000740 : TINKINSWOOD CHAMBERED TOMB, UNSPECIFIED EXCAVATION, 1914 (year : 1914)
E001895 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 2003 )
E001896 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1970 )
E001897 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1982 )
E001898 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1950 )
E001899 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1986 )
E001900 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1989)
E001901 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1995)
E001902 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 1996)
E001903 : Field visit Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb (year : 2004)
E001481 : Archaeological Assessment of Bonvilston and St Nicholas (year : 1989)
E004359 : Tinkinswood Lay-By, Duffryn Lane WB (year : 1998)

Related PRNs : 3s, 76s, 2431-4s


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