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PENTRE IFAN CHAMBERED TOMB, NEAR NEVERN

Site Details


NPRN 101450

Map Reference SN03NE

Grid Reference SN09943701

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Nevern

Type of Site CHAMBERED TOMB

Broad Class Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Period Neolithic

Site Description Pentre Ifan is perhaps the finest surviving Neolithic tomb in Wales and forms one of a group of Portal Dolmens built around the tributaries of the Nevern Valley approximately 6,000 years ago. Its chamber is formed by a capstone of around 16 tonnes upheld on three uprights about 2.5m high at one end of a cairn some 30 m long. The tomb was excavated by W F Grimes in 1936-7, who thought that it was heavily influenced by prehistoric contacts with Ireland. More recent research suggests the tomb was an indigenous creation by the local communities but may have been nonetheless influenced by Irish culture and contact during a later stage of its use, when the long mound, long since eroded away, was extended. Finds from Pentre Ifan, as from other Welsh prehistoric tombs, were meagre, numbering a few sherds of pottery from a shouldered bowl and a triangular flint arrowhead. Its present appearance, as a gaunt freestanding structure supporting a delicately balanced capstone, may never have been witnessed by the communities who later used it. Instead, it is thought that the whole structure was covered in a massive mound or cairn of stones with access to the chamber permitted only through the door or ‘portal’ at the south end.

It is a monument in the Welsh Assembly Government's guardianship and has public access.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 28th October 2009.

References:

Barker, C.T. 1992. The Chambered Tombs of South-West Wales, Oxbow Monograph 14.

Driver, T. 1993. The chambered tombs of the Preseli Mountains, Dyfed. Unpublished BA Dissertation, Southampton University.

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