Lligwy
Neolithic Chambered Barrow
Moelfre, Anglesey, Wales  OS Map Ref SH50148604
OS Maps - Landranger 114 (Anglesey), Explorer 263 (Anglesey East)


Lligwy chambered tomb. View from the south.
Lligwy chambered tomb. View from the south of the capstone and the partly buried uprights.

This squat chambered tomb is in fact taller than it looks on first inspection. It is built partly underground and the 8 uprights are actually 2 metres high with about half their height being either above or below the surface level. Of these uprights only 3 support the huge capstone which measures 5.5 metres long by 4.5 metres wide and is around a metre thick, giving it an estimated weight of a massive 25 tons. If there was ever a covering of earth or rubble over the chamber then all traces of this have now gone but there is evidence that the tomb had an entrance on its eastern side and it could be that a narrow passage led through the side of this vanished mound to the entrance. Finds from an excavation in 1909 were discovered on two separate layers and included the bones of up to 30 people as well as many animal bones and shellfish such as limpets and mussels. The presence of both grooved ware and beaker pottery would indicate that this tomb was in use during both the Neolithic and then again during the early Bronze Age.
When I visited Lligwy one late summer evening in 2001 the fenced area that encloses the tomb was overgrown with tall grasses and wild flowers which gave an air of tranquillity and isolation of the site, in recent years the vegetation around the tomb seems to have been regularly cut - compare my pictures with this one from the walesdirectory website. Lligwy burial chamber lies just 400 metres to the east of Din Lligwy walled settlement which is a much later Romano-British monument but it is interesting to speculate on what the residents of Din Lligwy thought of their Neolithic neighbour, whether it was considered a relic of a bygone and forgotten era or whether it was still held in veneration as a place of mystery and dread and alive with stories and tales of the ancestors, indeed were they distant descendants of the bodies interred within the chamber of Lligwy?

Lligwy - View of the tomb from the north east
View of the tomb from the north east, the gap between the uprights to the left may be the original entrance.
Night-time image of Lligwy
Night-time image of Lligwy - Autumn 2010.


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