Parc Cwm Long Cairn

Gower Peninsula, United Kingdom

Parc Cwm long cairn, also known as Parc le Breos burial chamber, is a partly restored Neolithic chambered tomb, identified as a Severn-Cotswold type of chambered long barrow. The cromlech, a megalithic burial chamber, was built around 5800 years ago, during the early Neolithic.

A trapezoidal cairn of rubble – the upper part of the cromlech and its earth covering now removed – about 72 feet long by 43 feet (at its widest), is revetted by a low dry-stone wall. A bell-shaped, south-facing forecourt, formed by the wall, leads to a central passageway lined with limestone slabs set on end. Human remains had been placed in the two pairs of stone chambers that lead from the passageway. Corpses may have been placed in nearby caves until they decomposed, when the bones were moved to the tomb.

The cromlech was discovered in 1869 by workmen digging for road stone. An excavation later that year revealed human bones (now known to have belonged to at least 40 people), animal remains, and Neolithic pottery. Samples from the site show the tomb to have been in use for between 300 and 800 years. North-West European lifestyles changed around 4000 BCE, from the nomadic lives of the hunter-gatherer, to a settled life of agricultural farming: the Neolithic Revolution. However, analysis of the human remains found at Parc Cwm long cairn show the people interred in the cromlech continued to be either hunter-gatherers or herders, rather than agricultural farmers.

Parc Cwm long cairn lies in a former medieval deer park, established in the 1220s CE by the Marcher Lord of Gower as Parc le Breos – an enclosed area of about 2,000 acres (810 ha), now mainly farmland. The cromlech is on the floor of a dry narrow limestone gorge containing about 500 acres (2.0 km2) of woodland. Free pedestrian access is via an asphalt track leading from the park's entrance, which has free parking for 12–15 cars about 230 m from the site. Parc Cwm long cairn is maintained by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment division.



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Founded: 3800 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Steven Aldridge (7 months ago)
Interesting archeological feature in a lovely setting. Free parking
Benjamin Samuel (8 months ago)
A very beautiful and quiet area, we went after a big storm some months ago - very atmospheric.
Neil Owen (9 months ago)
Gower has dozens of these ancient burial sites. This is probably the easiest one to get to and with the exception of king Arthur's stone is the most well known.
Simon Cooper (2 years ago)
Dramatically set in a secluded deep incut valley, with steep wooded walls, and a miraculously flat grassed floor to showcase this communal funerary monument. It has a very different feel to the busy local beaches, having a serene quietness, with no great horizons, cut off from the wind and weather. What remains of the walls are beautifully tightly laid blocks of the local limestone. From the central tunnel, small chambers branch off to the left and right. These are where the bodies of the community elders were laid. The valley (or cwm) is one of the two that feed into the river that leads down to Three Cliffs Bay. The other follows the road, then curls north up through to Ilston. Both ultimately lead towards the watershed of Welshmoor. A great and varied circular walk takes you north up the track, then west up a side valley and ultimately onto the crest of Cefn Bryn, drop down to Nicholaston and loop around the coast to return via Three Cliffs. Refreshments at Nicholaston Farm campsite cafe in the season. You can also illegally cycle the track, linking the south and north Gower roads. Very good for avoiding the persistently heavy tourist traffic
Deedee Davies (2 years ago)
Just a short walk from the Cark park you'll find the remains of a grave where rhey found the bones of around 40 people plus tons of animals. You can easily walk from here to Cathole Cave then on through the woods. Beautiful place to visit.
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