Tinkinswood is a megalithic burial chamber, built around 6,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The structure is called a dolmen, which was the most common megalithic structure in Europe. The dolmen is of the Severn-Cotswold tomb type, and consists of a large capstone on top, with smaller upright stones supporting it. The limestone capstone at Tinkinswood weighs approximately 40 long tons and is thought to be the largest in Britain, and also in Europe. It would have taken some 200 people to lift the stone into the correct position. It was originally all covered by a mound of soil, which has been removed over time.

The site was excavated in 1914, and inside the chamber there were 920 human bones, which were nearly all broken. This showed that at least forty people of all ages and sexes were buried there during the Neolithic period; it would appear to be a burial chamber used by the whole settlement. The corpses of the dead were probably left exposed before being moved into the burial chamber. Neolithic and Bell-Beaker style pottery has also been found, this showed that the burial chamber tomb was probably used by a community over a long period of time, maybe up until the early Bronze Age period. Restoration work was carried out at the same time, with a brick pillar built to support the capstone.

From the site two parallel lines of stones form an avenue leading away from the burial chamber to the south east. Along a second avenue to the north east lie many stones. A large single stone stands due east, and two flat parallel standing stones point to the top of the nearby Coed Sion Hill.

Many of the myths and legends of Tinkinswood are also associated with the nearby burial site of St Lythans, a short distance away. Legend has it that anyone who spends a night at Tinkinswood on the evenings before May Day, St John's Day (23 June), or Midwinter Day would either die, go mad, or become a poet. This legend is similar to the general legend about mountain tops. The group of boulders to the south east of the monument are said to be women who were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath day, another legend which is associated with dolmens.



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Founded: 4000 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Terri Booker (3 years ago)
Nice little piece of history, interesting to see. Space for 4 or 5 cars to park and then a short walk to the site. Maintained by CADW.
Teresa Dainty (3 years ago)
Can walk around the easily if ok getting over styles ?
Amanda Rucker (3 years ago)
I hadn't heard of this place but how wonderful we have such amazing history around us. Can I just ask if you visit not to block the farmers access to field next door when parking. He was so lovely spoke briefly but was unable to do his job. It's an absolutely wonderful place as I said with tremendous history.
Diane Davies (4 years ago)
Great to learn something about local history.. and its older than stone henge. Not much to see here but it's set in beautiful backdrop scenery so a picnic is a great addition. Can walk a little further and go to Wenvoe burial chambers also, well worth a visit.
Zobo 75 (4 years ago)
Tinkinswood Chambered Tomb This has the largest capstone in Wales. 50 people found buried however later renovations established that some bones were missing which led to the conclusion that bodies were laid to rest and then possibly dug up and brought out for ritual purposes. I enjoy this explanation and it sits well in a wider sense as other cultures did (and some still do) "resurrect" the bones of ancestors for ritual ceremonies. The site has a neolithic Burial Chamber with a later Bronze Age Burial pit next to the capstone chamber. I love the fact that it was used and respected across a timeline and I'm also assuming here that there was a rough lineage between the users of the site
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