Tripping in the Neolithic – a few thoughts on projects in the Dee Valley

Branas Uchaf trees c-rgb_cecc_springfiled_neolithic_cursus_gardiner_watercolour

Did you know ? During what we call the Neolithic in Wales the bones from cremations may have been distributed and interred around many locations on the landscape as a claim to the land in a world of interconnected relations between groups, ancestral places that we don’t understand ..
Power, knowledge, control , social relationships we can guess at . Who their gods were , what their rituals really meant we haven’t really a clue . Archaeologists can only interpret what excavation reports tell us . We can connect with monuments and landscapes and form our own conclusions but the truth is we really don’t know very much about the social, political and personal lives of people who who have left their mark upon the land we now call Wales .

What I do believe is that they were highly intelligent gifted people much like us and that they constructed monuments which have endured for around 6000 years . I can’t imagine many of our modern structures lasting for as long. The ‘houses for the dead’ as they are called dominate the landscape in some areas whilst the houses of the living are long since disappeared

Barclodiad Y Gawres Neolithic Chambered Tomb, Anglesey 

Barcloddiad y Gawres Anglesey before reconstruction

Barcloddiad y Gawres Anglesey before reconstruction


We need to research the area of the Dee Valley , to record the monuments and sites we can see on the ground but to also undertake a thorough literature review on all available sources for sites which have disappeared .

Unlike areas like Anglesey which I have highlighted here in the illustrations unfortunately we haven’t received the same acknowledgement and research attention , due I think to the area falling outside the interests of academic institutions and departments .

My own feeling is that we have a ‘ritual’ landscape equal to anywhere in Britain . There’s mention of a lost cursus monument near Corwen which indicates some important ritual activity going on – my own guess is that the River was closely connected to the  underlying thought processes that promoted the construction of many of the monuments here through out the Neolithic and Bronze Age . If we try to look at the possible relationships between what  we do have some evidence for – such as neolithic chambered tombs  ie Tan y Coed, Brans Uchaf and Gwerglas in relationship to the wider landscape I think we have a challenging  but fascinating project for the future .

Chambered cairns Tan y Coed Gwerclas cairn  kerb at entrance CADVAS

1 thought on “Tripping in the Neolithic – a few thoughts on projects in the Dee Valley

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