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Penywyrlod Long Cairn;pen-y-wrlod

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Map ReferenceSO13SE
Grid ReferenceSO1505031560
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPowys
Old CountyBrecknockshire
Penywyrlod is the largest Neolithic long cairn to survive in the area of the Black Mountains and one of the largest in Wales. It measures 52m by 22.5m and stands a maximum 3m high. Situated at 260m above sea level the cairn is sited in a location typical for many Black Mountain long cairns, fairly high up in the foot-hills, close to what is now good agricultural land. The plan and features of the cairn suggest it is a member of the laterally-chambered, `dummy portal? group of Severn-Cotswold long cairns that are well represented in the Black Mountains area. It has been dated by Radio Carbon close to 3,900 cal BC and is thus a relatively early example.

The long cairn was first discovered in 1972 by a farmer who discovered human remains in a stoney mound being excavated for agricultural hard-core. A rescue excavation followed the discovery during September 1972. The quarrying removed a large part of the SE end of the cairn and exposed in the quarry face orthostats of a partially wrecked lateral chamber above which the body of the main cairn (small pieces of local sandstone) still rose by some 2m; the edge of a large capstone of a much larger and higher chamber 1m below the top of the cairn; two massive stone slabs representing the dummy portal and a small damaged cist. Excavation on the floor of the quarry also revealed another largely destroyed lateral chamber. A third lateral chamber was also examined in a much smaller quarry scrape further along the NE side of the cairn, together with sections of inner and outer revetment walls.

Louise Barker, June 2013, RCAHMW

Briggs, C.S., 1997, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Brecknock (Brycheiniog), The Prehistoric and Roman Monuments, Part i: Later Prehistoric Monuments and Unenclosed Settlements to 1000 A.D. RCAHMW. pp 38-40.

Britnell WJ & Savory HN 1984 Gwernvale and Penywyrlod: Two Neolithic Long Cairns in the Black Mountains of Brecknock. (Cambrian Archaeological Monographs No. 2)