Tuesday, 20 July 2010 18:28

The Sweyne Howes, Rhossili, Gower

Written by forestelf
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The Sweyne Howes tombs (SS 421 898) are situated approximately 300 feet apart and were constructed by the peninsula's very first farmers. It was their funeral practice to bury their deceased along with certain goods and belongings (which they believed the dead would be able to make use of in the afterlife) and to then balance large slabs of stone upon the graves.

The northern most tomb stones are the best preserved of the two monuments, although neither anywhere near approaches the fine condition of the similar Neolithic tomb construction on Cefn Bryn known as Arthur's Stone (I'll publish more on that particular monument in tomorrow's post).


The Sweyne Howes Northern Tomb


Despite their name (Sweyne was the Viking King who is believed to have given his name to Swansea and 'Howes' is the Scandinavian name for a burial mound), the tombs do not mark the grave of Vikings. In fact, these Neolithic monuments predate Sweyne Forkbeard by a good couple of thousand years. Whilst many researchers and writers rebuke those who call these monuments by their alternative name of "The Swine Houses," this other title (which refers to the fact that the original tombs resembled old fashioned brick pigsties from a distance) is no more a misnomer than today's preferred title of the Neolithic monuments.


The Poorly Preserved Southern Sweyne Howes Tomb

The Sweyne Howes date back over 4,000 years into the Gower Peninsula's Pagan history and, despite their somewhat dishevelled state, are well worth the steep climb up Rhossili Downs to visit them. An amazing, if somewhat neglected ancient site, you will probably be rewarded for your effort in walking out to them by finding yourself alone with the monuments when you finally reach them.

Read 3632 times Last modified on Friday, 20 September 2013 22:43

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