BURIAL CHAMBER NEAR CARN LLECHART, MYNYDD CARNLLECHART, PONTARDAWE
Map Reference SN60NE
Grid Reference SN696062
Unitary (Local) Authority Swansea
Old County Glamorgan
Type of Site CHAMBERED TOMB
Broad Class RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND FUNERARY
Site Description Burial Chamber near Carn Llechart at 280 m above O.D. on ground falling to the S.W., just below the brow of a ridge of open moorland.
The collection of stones at this site was first suggested as the ruins of a burial chamber at the end of the 19th century. The huge central slab, 5.3m long by 2.4m wide by 0.8m thick was thought to be the capstone, formerly supported by the long slab resting vertically at its north side and by the slab lying adjacent on the south. The site has been variously rejected or accepted since then, apparently on the original assessment of the structure, the only additional comment being on the choice of site to take advantage of outcrop material.
The remains are more easily acceptable as a destroyed tomb if the supposed massive capstone and southern supporter are regarded as virtually undisturbed slabs, lying as they do in the same plane and orientation as in nearby outcrops. The parallel vertical slab, after being deliberately turned from a similar natural position, could equally well have been intended as the southern supporter of a chamber centred further north. The three earthfast stones, one leaning outwards, which were interpreted in the original account as the possible remains of a circle, would thus form the northern side of the tomb, supplemented by two further displaced slabs within.
The loose slab at the east resting partly on the outcrop, can now be considered as a genuine capstone. The form of the hollow beneath it, defined as it is by a rough wall of rounded stones at the east side, might allow its interpretation as an earthfast chamber with a poorly aligned, wedge-shaped forecourt. More probably, however, this is a more recent shelter, as suggested in the earliest account, the capstone having been displaced 3m eastwards from the nearest supporters, where it was originally accompanied by others which have been removed altogether.
The whole site has been extensively robbed and disturbed in recent times, particularly in the area to the south of the outcrop. Excavated soil has formed a misleading bank on the west, masking the more gradual natural slope of the ground. There is no trace of an original covering mound, which suggests that the structure may have been vulnerable as a source of large slabs even for the construction of the nearby cairn circle (No. 66).
Morgan, E. Gower, pp. 46-8 (fig).
Daniel, P.C.T., p.211.
Grimes, Map L.B.M, No. 103; Rutter, P.Gower, pp. 38, 40.
Grimes, M.M.W., p.135, No. 117 in list.
Llangyfelach (E), Rhyndwyglydach (C).
SN 60 N.E. (6966 0627) 10 I 68
RCAHMW, 1976. An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan, Volume 1: Pre-Norman, Part 1, The stone and bronze ages. Cardiff, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, pp. 28-30