| 2 October 2010
Portal dolmen may lie hidden in South West Wales
Throughout western Britain there are a few lucky sites that have escaped the wandering eye of the antiquarian. One of these sites is the Trefael Stone, located north of the Nevern valley, comprising a single flat monolith that stands around 130m above mean sea level. The site is on land belonging to Coedfryn Farm and was first recorded in the late 1920s by W.F.Grimes, the then inspector of ancient monuments for Wales.
At this time, the stone had recorded on one of its sides up to 45 shallow cupmarks, the average cupmark measuring c. 0.05cm in diameter. According to archaeologist Frances Lynch, this now tilted stone may have once been a capstone belonging to a Neolithic burial-ritual monument. In the recent past the stones appear to have been severely damaged from possibly the plough, resulting in the removal of a large stone flake that may have contained further rock-art.
Curiously and possibly associated with the Trefael Stone was a nearby standing stone that was located within an adjacent field. The provenance, age and use of this stone is unknown, however, one cannot ignore the fact that standing stones have an association with Neolithic and Later prehistoric burial-ritual monuments within this corner of Wales.
A geophysical survey undertaken by members of the Welsh Rock-art Organisation around the Trefael monument in September this year has revealed the probability of the shallow remains of a kidney-shaped mound around the stone. The survival of this important architectural feature, along with the stone itself - probably Lynch's capstone, suggests Trefael was once a Portal Dolmen, one of Western Britain's earliest Neolithic burial-ritual monuments types.
The national monitoring authority - CADW have given permission for the team to excavate over a period of only 5 days a 4m square area around the stone in order to ascertain the upper extent of the probable cairn that was identified during the recent geophysical survey. Following excavation the team will also record the cupmarked surface and include any further rock-art that may lie below the present ground level.
Edited from Dr George Nash press release (30 September 2010)
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