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Rock Art Network Ffion Reynolds
Rock Art Network Ffion Reynolds
Rock Art Network Ffion Reynolds
Step inside a virtual world of Welsh rock art…
The Neolithic rock art passage tombs of Anglesey as brand-new virtual tours
21 June 2021

by Ffion Reynolds
Co-Director of the Bryn Celli Ddu landscape project, and Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University

Ffion Reynolds Rock Art Network
Ffion Reynolds
© Bradshaw Foundation
Get ready for an adventure in archaeology - from the comfort of your home.

Cadw, the historic environment service for the Welsh Government have launched a brand-new collection of virtual site tours, offering the people of Wales and beyond the chance to explore our most spectacular heritage monuments - through the very latest digital technology.

The new collection features the Neolithic passage tombs of Barclodiad-y-Gawres and Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey, and these new virtual experiences will allow ‘visitors’ to explore the hidden depths of Wales’s past - through fully articulated, 3D content.

Journey into our ancient past by virtually exploring two of Wales’s most fascinating Neolithic monuments: Anglesey’s Barclodiad y Gawres - with its rare surviving examples of prehistoric art - and evocative Bryn Celli Ddu, aligned to the rising sun on the longest day of the year.

The content is designed to be compatible across all devices, so all you need is a desktop computer, mobile phone or VR head-set to be fully immersed inside your digital adventure.

Barclodiad-y-Gawres: an atmospheric tomb with rare examples of prehistoric art

Barclodiad-y-Gawres
Barclodiad-y-Gawres
© Cadw
Barclodiad y Gawres (‘The Giantess’s Apronful’ in English) gives a revealing – and surprising – glimpse into the lives of our ancient ancestors. Perched in a spectacular cliffside location, the 27m earthen mound is a modern reconstruction, but beneath lies a 7m passageway leading to a cross-shaped chamber that houses the tomb’s most exciting treasures.

Among a series of stones are five etched with intricate patterns of zig-zags and spirals, which hint at the site’s significance for Anglesey’s early inhabitants. While similar carvings have been found at Neolithic (New Stone Age) sites in Ireland, the only other tomb in the UK with examples of such megalithic art is a few miles away at Bryn Celli Ddu.

To view the Barclodiad-y-Gawres Virtual Tour, please visit:
https://cadw.gov.wales/virtual-visits-barclodiad-y-gawres

Bryn Celli Ddu: Iconic Neolithic tomb with a celestial secret

One of Anglesey’s most famous prehistoric landmarks, Bryn Celli Ddu (the ‘Mound in the Dark Grove’ in English) is actually two sites in one. In the early Neolithic (New Stone Age) period, a henge (bank and ditch) enclosing a circle of stones was built here, to be replaced later by a chambered tomb beneath a mound measuring up to 26m in diameter. Inside, a long, narrow passage leads to an octagonal chamber 2.4m across, where artefacts such as human bones, arrowheads and carved stones have been found.

But Bryn Celli Ddu’s most unusual feature can only be seen once a year. As the sun rises on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) shafts of light shine directly down the tomb’s passageway to illuminate the chamber within.

To view the Bryn Celli Ddu Virtual Tour, please visit:
https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=Wq8mDvb3xn2

Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
© 4Pi Productions
 
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
© 4Pi Productions
 
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
© 4Pi Productions
 
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
© 4Pi Productions
 
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
© 4Pi Productions
 
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu
© 4Pi Productions

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by Andrew Bock
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by Amy van den Berg
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