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Trefignath Burial Chamber

Holyhead, Anglesey

Location Guide

Photo by Stephen Elwyn Roddick

Photo by Eric Jones

Photo by Eric Jones

This tomb like the one at Din Dryfol Burial Chamber   was a cairn that was made up of a series or line of burial chambers. In the Din Dryfol Burial Chamber   there were 4, here there are 3, but much more remains of them.

The older section of the Trefignath Burial Chamber is the western section. This was a simple square structure typical of early passage graves. I have seen different estimates of when this was built ranging from 3500BC to 6000BC. However carbon dating of material that remained from occupation of the site, before the cairn was constructed, was dated at 3100 BC, so this may give a better indication of its age, its still 5,000 years ago. This was constructed on the highest point on the rock outcrop with an entrance facing north. It was constructed with 5 upright stones sitting in prepared stone holes with two cap stones on top, then covered with earth. Today 4 uprights in this section are still standing. No human remains were found in this chamber.

The next section, the centre section has collapsed leaving a pile of stones with just one rear and one entry stone standing. This was built to the east of the first chamber, and both entrances were left open, the new one facing east with a horned entrance and the original northern entrance to the original chamber. This section originally had two low portal entrance stones, and a single capstone, only two of the holes were prepared, the others rocks being jammed into existing gaps in the rock base. A pile of pottery found in this section suggests it was open until the second half of the Neolithic period.

The last section was sealed around 2250BC, is the most prominent piece with two capstones supported by 5 uprights, and a grand entrance made up of four portal stones, the outer two being 2m tall, this time with two capstones. Its a similar design to the middle section just larger and slightly more elaborate. The stonework from this phase was joined to the earlier one, and the earth covering extended. Its built to the east of the middle chamber sealing this at the same time. Again it has a horned entrance.

It remained basically intact until the 19th century, when the stones of the covering cairn were used for wall building and the tomb contents stolen. It was excavated in 1977-79, as work needed to be done, as supporting props in the eastern chamber were decaying, at the same time it was consolidated and laid out for public display as well as having a supporting lintel added. I think the small stones all laid out on the ground are there to indicate the area the original cairn occupied. The outer stones of this I think are the original curb stones, from comments on websites that say that each time children pile up the stones, they need a team of archaeologists to go and check the positions of the curb stones and put them back correctly.

A lot of development has been happening and more is to happen in this area, but this, and the standing stone not far away, are in protected areas, so the development will not damage this, although they will change the settings they are in. Part of this development has included a new large road, complete with street lighting, however I am told its still a quiet area and cars using this are few and far between.

Location: Trefignath Burial Chamber, Holyhead, Anglesey

Grid Reference: SH259805 Ceremonial County: Anglesey

Map Link: Get-A-map   Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap

Getting there: From A55 take the exit for the B4545 to Trearddur, past the first fork at the next fork take the left into Cyttir Road past the Ty Mawr Standing Stone about half a mile and the chamber is on the left.

Access: There has been a lot of new development in this area and some people have found difficulty locating access but I am told that "There does now appear to be some parking for this site although nothing is signed as such. If approaching from the south, just past the roundabout on the right there is a long dropped curb and the wooden posts that line the roadways go back to the wall bordering the old lane. There is also a gap in the old lane wall here allowing access to the Burial chamber site".
Website: CADW
Other Useful Websites: Geograph   Megalithics.com   Megalithic.co.uk
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: open all the time

Charges: Free

Nearby Locations: Ty Mawr Standing Stone
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages: Anglesey Attractions    Anglesey Attractions Map



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By: Keith Park Section: Heritage Section Key:
Page Ref: Trefignath_Burial Topic: Burial Chambers and Mounds  Last Updated: 07/2010


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