Day 235 Mile 235: In Numinous Fields. Bryn Celli Ddu (the Mound in the Dark Grove) is an impressive Neolithic chambered tomb, probably the best-known prehistoric monument on Anglesey, and is ‘one of the most evocative archaeological sites in Britain’. Like other prehistoric tombs on Anglesey it seems to have been constructed to protect and pay respect to the remains of ancestors.
The monument was begun in the late Neolithic around 5,000 years ago, as a ‘henge’ or ritual enclosure. It consisted of a bank around an inner ditch, which enclosed a circle of upright stones. The ditch originally measured 21 meters in diameter. The outer edge can still be seen and several stones from the inner stone circle still survive. At a later date, towards the end of the Neolithic, the henge made way for a passage tomb which is what we can see to this day.
The passage tomb consists of a narrow tunnel that leads to a polygonal stone chamber. Human bones, both burnt and unburnt, were found in the passage of the tomb. Other finds were few, but included quartz, two flint arrowheads, a stone bead, and limpet and mussel shells.
What sets Bryn Celli Ddu apart from the other tombs on Anglesey, is that it is the only one to be accurately aligned to coincide with the rising sun on the longest day of the year. At dawn on midsummer solstice, shafts of light from the rising sun penetrate down the passageway to light the inner burial chamber. Quite why this was significant is not clear but the effort involved in achieving this suggests that it held some important meaning to the people that built this place all those thousands of years ago.
It’s a very evocative place and retains the feel and atmosphere of a sacred space even though most of its intended connotations have been lost from memory and folklore. Today’s run (sneaked in before work) took me across the fields and back to this space, I’m glad I went, it feels good for the soul.
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1613.8 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Thanks as ever for all the support!