A Tomb with a View – Cilan Uchaf

If you take a short detour off the Wales Coastal Path by clambering over a style and trudge through a couple of fields it’s possible to find the remains of a chambered tomb dating back to the Neolithic period (c. 4,400 BC – 2,900 BC). As remains go there is not much to be impressed about. In fact it is easy to be a little underwhelmed when you compare Cilan Uchaf with other burial chambers in West Wales. All that remains is a huge recumbent stone measuring 3.2m by 2m wide, with a thickness of 1.2m. But as building material that is still a a hefty piece of rock to shift about the countryside if you don’t have access to a crane. You have to look carefully, but it’s still possible to see the remains of the supporting stones, orthostats, but they are broken and fragmented. Coflein mentions that there is little evidence for a surrounding cairn or mound. I can’t find any reference of it having been excavated, and there is a hint in what I’ve read that there seems a very small uncertainty that it is in fact a chambered tomb.

The Royal Commission for Ancient Monuments quotes from the Arch.Camb.that “in 1923, an elderly inhabitant remembered another supporter ‘at the north side near the hedge’, and had heard that formerly there were three uprights.” Today a hundred years later there is nothing to be seen. But for me, despite all this it seems the right place to build a tomb as a community focus.

Whoever built the tomb, and for whatever purpose it served within the community, they certainly provided a great view for the ancestors. The tomb looks out over Porth Ceiriad towards the cliffs of Trwyn yr Wylfa, and beyond that over Cardigan Bay. Really not a bad spot, and if the need for landscape views were important than they have certainly built the tomb in the right spot. It’s almost as if the tomb is on the edge of the world, just beyond the cliffs plunge down to the sea at Trwyn Llech y Ddol leading to another world.

References

Cilan Uchaf. Coflein. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/302287/ Accessed 06 May 2021.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. (1964) An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Caernarvonshire: Vol III – West (1964). London, HMSO.

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