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Community Archaeology

A fallen burial chamber?

This is just a quick update about our plans to excavate at Tinkinswood. We won’t be excavating the main chamber as this has already been done under the direction of John Ward in 1914, but there are other features with high archaeological potential in a nearby field.

The mystery arrangement of stones in the field adjacent to Tinkinswood burial chamber, have always been of interest, ever since Cyril Fox and John Ward’s days at the site. They too, did not understand how the mudstone slabs could have fallen naturally in the arrangement found. As Mr. F. J. North, the geologist of the National Museum of Wales at the time describes in 1915, “[I] consider it impossible to explain the positions of these slabs geologically. The prevailing opinion is that they are fallen cromlechs, but it is hardly possible to come to a decision without the aid of the spade” (Archaeologia Cambrensis vol. xv, 6th series, 1915, 256).

It was interesting to come across a letter in the archives, sent in relation to this arrangement of stones, written in 1938 to Mr O’Neill from the H.M Office of Works by Mr Traherne, owner of the estate. I love finding little snippets like this, and they certainly knew how to do business!

Letter to meet over sherry to discuss plans!

Letter Transcript:

Dear Mr O’Neill,

Thank you for your letter of the 5th last. Would it be possible for you to meet me here on the evening of the 11th at 6p.m. and over some sherry discuss the plan.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Traherne

The arrangement of stones, as visible 1914

As part of the Tinkinswood Community Archaeology Project, we will be excavating this area and answering the burning question: ‘is it a fallen burial chamber or not?’. This will be a very exciting opportunity to find out more about the surrounding area at Tinkinswood by broading our understanding of other possible archaeological features close by. Volunteers can still sign up to help, get involved!

The possible fallen chamber, as visible today

The capstone?

About FfionR

I’m Ffion, Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University and Heritage and Arts Manager for Cadw, the historic environment service for the Welsh Government. At Cadw, my role is to oversee projects that link heritage with the arts, inspire new ways of engaging people with our built environment and to link people with their local heritage and archaeology.


3 thoughts on “A fallen burial chamber?

  1. hi, was just wondering how you sign up to be a volunteer? im a 3rd year archaeology student at cardiff and want to gain as much experience in the field as possible before graduating. thanks. kirsty.

    Posted by kirsty | September 28, 2011, 7:43 pm
  2. Hi Kirsty, email me on ffion[dot]reynolds@wales.gsi.gov.uk and I’ll let you know our timetable 🙂

    Posted by Ffion Cadw | September 28, 2011, 8:56 pm
  3. Quite right too, they should have talked about it over sherry! 🙂

    Posted by monasticdave | September 28, 2011, 9:09 pm

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