Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddi is a religious site in Llanddaniel (circa 2000BC) from the latter Neolithic era, which was built during two different periods. To begin with, a "henge" was built, with a ditch and a circle of standing stones (still visible from behind the mound). After that, a chamber made of stones was added where the remains of the dead were buried. This chamber was accessible by a path beneath the mound.
Bryn Celli Ddu (the mound in a dark grove) is the best passage grave in Wales. It started as a late Neolithic henge or ritual enclosure, with a stone circle surrounded by a bank and internal ditch. A later passage grave was built inside the ditch; the north-east entrance to the burial chamber is retained by a kerb of stones, which with the dry-stone walling of the outer passage, creates an elaborate forecourt. The narrow passage (a torch may be useful) is 8.2m (27ft) long and 0.9m (3ft) wide with a low shelf along its north (right) side. This leads to a higher, polygonal burial chamber, 2.4m (8ft) wide, covered by two capstones. In the chamber is a tall, rounded, free-standing pillar, whose purpose is unknown. The spiral carving on the first stone on the left of the chamber entrance may be not authentic.
The whole passage was covered by a cairn, but the existing mound is a partial reconstruction, kept small so that three stones from the old stone circle and two other features behind the chamber, at the centre of the henge, can be seen. These other features are a pit (in which excavations revealed charcoal and a human ear-bone) and an upright stone carved on both faces and across the top with zigzag and spiral lines. The original pillar is now at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, but a replica has been set up in its presumed original position.
The site was visited from 1699, and excavated in 1865 and 1927-31. In the passage and in the chamber excavations revealed both burnt and unburnt human bones, a stone bead, two flint arrowheads, a scraper and mussel shells. Outside the entrance and the ditch, a small, unusual ox burial was found. On the ridge to the north of the site (on the right of the lane as you return) is a tall standing stone.
This magnificent and massive stone was discovered at Bryn Celli Ddu. It had been deliberately buried in a pit at the centre of a stone circle, with the pit subsequently being sealed by the building of a large tomb over top of it. Before it was hidden it is assumed that the stone was meant to be viewed upright as we see it in this image. The swirling patterns on the stone are very similar to those carved on the walls of tombs found throughout the Irish Sea area, suggesting that the whole of the region enjoyed a common culture.