Sometime in the 1940s, a certain Lady A. Fox recorded a cup-marked stone “in the vicinity of Pen-twyn” near Bargoed. Its position in the landscape is a good one: on a geological promontory and overlooking the valley below. The find was indexed by the Ordnance Survey, but apart from it’s grid-reference, all attempts to locate the design have so far proved unsuccessful.
It was mentioned briefly in the Royal Commission (1976) survey of Glamorgan, then subsequently listed in the surveys of Sharkey (2004) and Nash (2007), but none of them were able to locate it. And hence, I post it here, in the hope that some local hunter will be able to recover it from its hiding place!
Mazel, A., Nash, G. & Waddington, C. (eds.), Art as Metaphor: The Prehistoric Rock Art of Britain, ArchaeoPress: Oxford 2007.
Nash, George, “A Scattering of Images: the Rock Art of Southern Britain,” in Art as Metaphor, ArchaeoPress: Oxford 2007.
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Wales, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan – Volume 1: Pre-Norman, Part 1: The Stone and Bronze Ages, HMSO: Cardiff 1976.
Sharkey, John, The Meeting of the Tracks: Rock Art in Ancient Wales, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch: Llanrwst 2004.
An interesting new cup-marked stone found by Paul Blades is this smooth rounded (female) stone that may originally have had some relationship with the tall standing stone of Careg Bica 160 yards to the south. Around ten cup-marks are etched onto its surface, in a seemingly random arrangement (as usual!). Although it seems to be an isolated carving, it’s likely that others will exist in the area.
The direction and proximity of the standing stone may have had some relationship with the carving. In traditional northern hemisphere societies, the cardinal direction North is generally associated with darkness and death, primarily due to the fact that this is the area in the heavens where neither sun or moon ever appear; whilst South relates to life and positive natural associations due to it being the high point of the sun during the day. This animistic attribute existed till recently in the water-lore of northern England and Scotland where “south-running streams bore a high repute.” Whilst such mythic attributes are well established, any cardinal relationship here is purely speculative.
Acknowledgements: Huge thanks to Paul Blades for use of his photos in this site profile – and of course for finding the stone!
Described in 1925 in a report by the Royal Institute of South Wales as “the remains of a long barrow,” it seems that all remains of this old site have been destroyed. Where the long tomb once stood are now some bungalows (anyone know if they’re haunted!?).
The tomb was quite an impressive one from all accounts: aligning north-northeast, it was some 20 yards long and 10 yards wide (at its widest), standing between 6-8 feet tall. When building operations started here in 1959, a disturbed mound of stones was noticed, but by 1965 the bungalows had been built where once rested the ancient dead.
The field-name to its immediate east — Cae Bryn-y-garn — tells us the old name of the cairn, as known to local folk. Quite what its folklore may have been, I’ve yet to hear…
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Wales, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan – Volume 1, HMSO: Cardiff 1976.