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The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust News - old stories

Excavation of prehistoric monuments on Trannon Moor, Carno, Powys


Stone row during excavation

Right: Excavation of the stone row

During May this year members of the CPAT excavation team carried out some small-scale evaluations (trial trenching) at Carno Windfarm, situated high on Trannon Moor in the western Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales. This was the latest phase in a series of archaeological investigations since our initial assessment of the area prior to building the windfarm in 1993.

This recent excavation has allowed us to determine the nature, dating and state of preservation of six sites, all of which turned out to have once been part of a Bronze Age funerary and ritual complex. This complex was centred on the Twr Gwyn ridge, and is now known to comprise a stone alignment, a standing stone, and at least ten cairns, including the substantial Twr Gwyn Mawr cairn and a range of smaller cairns and ring cairns.

Stone row during excavation

Left: Excavation of the kerb cairn

This work was done by staff from CPAT, with the assistance of three Dutch archaeologists from the Sectie Archeologie Gemeente Zwolle, The Netherlands. Professor Mike Walker of the Department of Geography, University of Wales, Lampeter was also commissioned to evaluate the palaeo-environmental potential of the windfarm area. (That is, reconstructing past environments of an area from indicator species in deposits, for instance, plant seeds, pollen, snail shells and beetle carapaces.) All this work has been funded by National Wind Power in association with Powys County Council.

What we found

The most significant result from this work was the identification of a circular bank to the east of the stone alignment as a ring cairn, rather than an enclosure as had been previously thought. An eccentric cairn with a disturbed cist (stone-box burial chamber) lies within this ring cairn, together with a possible second eccentric cairn (which we did not investigate). The stone alignment itself was shown to be a single row of stones, rather than a double row as had been previously suggested.


Right: The cist, after excavation

The other sites investigated included a small ring cairn, a badly disturbed cairn known as Twr Gwyn Bach, a possible ring cairn and a more complex cairn of at least two phases.

As to artefacts, only two burnt flint flakes were recovered from the excavations, although samples from the cist did include quantities of charcoal and fragments of calcined (burnt) bone.

Future work
This has been a most interesting excavation, that has helped us better understand the prehistoric activity of this part of upland Wales. In future, we hope to have the opportunity to further excavate at least one more of these sites.

Nigel Jones, July 2000

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