Newport – Carreg Coetan Dolmen

History

   The Carreg Coetan tomb was erected in the Neolithic period around 3500 B.C., that is in the rather late period of functioning of  the megalithic tombs in today’s Wales. Burial chambers were erected and used by local farming communities. The gradual transition of society from gathering and hunting to more settled agricultural life probably influenced the development of a sense of territoriality and rights to inheritance, and thus the desire to pay tribute to ancestors. A visible manifestation of this aspiration could be monumental tombs, also used to carry out religious ceremonies in their vicinity. Used for many centuries, it was possible that they were family tombs or belonging to specific tribes.

Architecture

   The remains of the burial chamber consist of four stones supporting the 2.8 meters long capstone, which originally served as the ceiling. The stones have not been processed with tools, but only carefully selected in terms of shape and size. The entrance was probably in a gap on the west or south-east side.
   Originally, the whole was placed under an earth or stone-earth mound (cairn). Excavations from 1979 and 1980 revealed that it was round, had a diameter of about 11 meters and was fenced on the edges with smaller boulders. Only one small section of the mound remained, under which neolithic pottery was located. The pots were probably used as cremation urns, because there were plenty of charcoal and pieces of cremated bones of adult people around. They lay on the surface carefully arranged with small pieces of stone slabs. A large amount of other Neolithic pottery, fragments of axes, flint knives and scrapers were also found outside the burial chamber. Several hollows of unknown purpose, perhaps performing ceremonial and religious functions, were also nearby. They were filled with charcoal, and one of them contained a stone axe.

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bibliography:
Castleden R., Neolithic Britain: New Stone Age sites of England, Scotland and Wales, London 1992.
Hilling J., Cilgerran Castle, St Dogmaels Abbey, Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber, Carreg Coetan Burial Chamber, Cardiff 2000.

Website stone-circles.org.uk, Carreg Coetan Arthur Neolithic Chambered Tomb / Dolmen.