Sunday, 18 July 2010 17:45

Pentre Ifan

Written by forestelf
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There is a certain sense of ancient grace present at Pentre Ifan. Allied with its brooding air of myth and magic, it is unsuprising to discover that this is the most popular megalithic site in Wales.

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The tomb’s incredibly massive five metre long capstone weighs in at over sixteen tons but appears almost delicately held, eight feet clear of the ground, upon three gnarled and tapered supports. Appearing to all that the whole monument might collapse at any moment, it is easy for the visitor to wonder upon what supernatural intervention might be at work preventing it from all crashing to the ground. Such stirrings of the imagination are easily raised at Pentre Ifan.

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It is believed that Pentre Ifan was an important site for Druid worship in the past and evidence of more recent occult practices were discovered here during this author’s 2007 visit to the dolmen.

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As well as practictioners of the Magical Arts, is is rumoured that Pentre Ifan also attracts supernatural beings themselves to the monument in the form of fairies, dressed in soldier-like attire and little red caps. These have been spotted frolicking both at Pentre Ifan itself and in the nearby Ty Canol Woods.

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The Sun Setting Behind Ty Canol Woods

Dating from around 3,500 B.C., Pentre Ifan is constructed from large slabs of local igneous rocks which were carried to the top of the hll overlooking Fishguard and the Nevern Valley to form the crux of a large ceremonial burial chamber. The effort involved in raising these rocks into position should not be underestimated and would have involved the whole community, who believed that by burying their departed loved ones on a hill they were helping their spirits rise into the Afterworld.

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The Bronze Age monument would have looked radically different when it was first completed to how it appears today. A chamber was originally present in the tomb, supported by small drystone wall sides (many of these stones are still evident at the site, scattered around the clearing where the bulk of Pentre Ifan still stands). The bodies of the deceased members of the local community (or at least a select number of them) would have been taken into this chamber and laid to rest in side openings located along its length (given its age and conspicuous nature, it is not thought untoward that no remains of human interment have been found beneath the stones here). The entire construction would also have been covered by a trapezoidal shaped mound of earth measuring a full thirty-six metres in length.

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That so much of this remarkable dolmen still exists has already been noted as being extraordinary and, in 1884, its important stature in the archaeological world was officially recognised when it became Britain’s first Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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Pentre Ifan is currently managed by CADW and entrance to the site is free of charge. Limited parking is available along the lane, set a short distance from the site. Whilst this is a fine location for a summer’s picnic, for those wanting to trully sample the full majesty of feeling this Megalith can impart to visitors, it is strongly recommended to coincide any intended time spent at Pentre Ifan with the opportunity of also taking in the spectacle of the sun setting behind this most stunning and awesome of Wales’ prehistoric structures.

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Read 2988 times Last modified on Friday, 20 September 2013 22:43

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