Trefignath
Neolithic Chambered Cairn
South of Holyhead, Holyhead, Wales  OS Map Ref SH25868055
OS Maps - Landranger 114 (Anglesey), Explorer 262 (Anglesey West)


The eastern chamber of Trefignath
View of the eastern chamber of Trefignath - looking north.

Eastern chamber - looking south.
At first sight the remains of this Neolithic chambered cairn are a confusing jumble of flat slabs and scattered boulders and indeed the original layout of the site was not fully understood until it was excavated between 1977-1979. Evidence of hearths, flint tools and pottery found beneath the monument suggest the area was being used as a settlement site prior to the building of a multi phase burial tomb that started around 3100BC. The first phase of construction at what is now the western end of the monument was a passage grave consisting of a square tomb with an entrance towards the north which was then covered with a circular stone cairn. Later a larger rectangular 2.6 metre by 1.5 metre chamber was built on the eastern side of the first tomb and the cairn was extended over the whole structure. This wedge shaped cairn was faced with drystone walling and had a forecourt in the style of Severn-Cotswold tombs like Parc-le-Breos Cwm on the Gower Peninsula.
The final phase of the monument involved the building of a further rectangular 2.5 metre by 1 metre chamber towards the east in the existing forecourt area thereby blocking the central chamber. The cairn was again extended to cover all three chambers and a new drystone forecourt constructed.
Trefignath was partially reconstructed in 1980 following the excavation and it is the eastern chamber that is the most complete part of the monument with its pair of large portal stones (to the right of the picture at the top of this page) standing beyond the smaller upright side slabs of the tomb supporting a low capstone. The middle phase chamber remains in a collapsed state while the side slabs of the earlier western tomb were re-erected and can be seen as an open box shape of low upright stones.


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