Goward Dolmen is a megalithic dolmen or cromlech situated between Hilltown and Castlewellan The huge granite capstone has slipped from its original horizontal position. The capstone is 4m long and 3m wide, with an estimated weight of 50 tons. The capstone has shifted sideways on its supporting uprights, possibly due to the collapse of the backstone, and now overhangs the chamber on its north side. The unsegmented burial chamber is 9 feet long with an entrance on the east, flanked by orthostats which could be the remains of a crescent shaped facade. Its largest stone is the enormous capstone which has fallen sideways, revealing the megalithic chamber it once covered, in which a cremation urn and a flint arrowhead were found in 1834. Stones standing independently at the eastern side of the monument suggest that it may once have had a forecourt facade like a court-tomb.

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

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Old Warrenpoint (10 months ago)
Well preserved site only downside is the very poor condition of the road leading to it. Also signage could be a bit better you need to keep your eyes open or you could drive past the road.
Garry (13 months ago)
Nearly pre dates the Great Pyramids.
NegativePhil Productions (18 months ago)
Awesome 50 tonne capstone
Rick Goward (20 months ago)
I haven’t been yet but as soon as we can I need to see this in person for obvious reasons
Alan Wright (2 years ago)
Beautiful ancient place
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.