Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- due for publication on June 1st 2018. After that, it will be available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Brithdir Mawr Stone Circle

 The Brithdir Mawr stone circle, with Carningli in the background.
Acknowledgement to Ian Pegler and Megalithic Portal for this pic, which is the nicest one I have been able to find while I am absent from my own photo library.

The stone circle at Brithdir Mawr is not supposed to be there -- ie it is not recorded on any maps or on the Welsh archaeological sites data base.  But there it is, not far from the road, and clearly visible from the summit and flanks of Carningli.  The details are from hearsay, but as I recall, about 20 years ago somebody from the Brithdir community noticed a couple of recumbent stones in a field and thought they looked interesting.  so they were investigated, and as a result of dowsing by various people it was realised that there was a whole circle of recumbent stones buried in the turf.  Without any consents or notifications, a sort of long-term project was started, and over the course of several years many people were involved in digging up the stones and placing them in their "proper" positions.  The task was completed in 2002.

Is the site really important, or is it a piece of fantasy?  Should the members of the community have consulted with Cadw or Dyfed Archaeological Trust before taking it upon themselves to "reconstruct" the circle?  If they had, there would have been decades of bureaucratic nonsense to cope with, and there is no way the circle ever would have been reconstructed.  Have the stone erectors done untold damage to a valuable site?  Who knows........

The stones now in position in the circle are for the most part short and stumpy -- less than 2m high.  They are also well spaced, and there is no way they could have supported lintels.  If the site is a genuine prehistoric site (and this remains to be demonstrated) it will be more closely related to Gors Fawr and other Pembs circles than to Stonehenge or Callanish.  Watch this space.....

Here is an extract from the "Powerful Places" web site:

On my return, I was immediately asked by friends to go to Brithdir Mawr, a community in Pembrokeshire, and while sitting talking, I noticed a picture of a standing stone on the wall. When I asked where it was situated, my friends said it was in their field. They wanted me to look at it as they thought it might be the remnant of a stone circle. Indeed, buried in the ground were 20 or so stones, forming a fairly coherent circle. I offered to help bring them out of the ground to remake the circle for all to see.

I had blithely assumed that the stones would be of a comparable (small) size to the only stone circle left in the area, Gors Fawr, and be around 1-2 tons at most. But when we started digging them out, they were actually more like 5-9 tons, and our original plan to get them up over a weekend had to be abandoned!

Over the next two years we spent several weeks at the site, moving approximately three stones each time, with levers and wooden rollers, until an amazing, beautiful circle emerged. Most of the stones were already in position, i.e., they were suitably placed to mark the rising and setting points of the sun and moon over the course of the years and the months. This seems to have been a major feature of most ancient circles, making them stone calendars. We moved a few to mark points not covered already. The finished circle is an amazing place to be and, when dowsed, has many energy leys running through and around it.

Many people saw this circle, and soon another friend asked me to create a circle for her for a new Community Woodland project. This was also in the Preseli Mountains, and we found many bluestones around the edges of the fields to use for the circle. The old maps of the place showed a stone row and a burial chamber/dolmen. So we decided to make a new dolmen too, and to resurrect at least one stone from the row, in the centre of the field leading up to the circle, and another next to the circle, as an outlier. This is a common feature in Welsh circles.


TonyH said...

No mention of this whatsoever in N.P.Figgis' "Prehistoric Preseli - a field guide", 2001 but purchased in Fishguard in 2013.

I suppose Messrs Darvill & Wainwright must have run their own, probably more objective, rule over it, during their SPACES ten - year investigations.And I expect the Dyfed Archaeological Trust also has a note of its earlier condition in their own records.

Their is another, man - made this time, stone circle, overlooking the sea at Trefin at Aber Draw. As I understand it, this one was constructed by singer Cerys Matthews' parents a while ago.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, it's deliberately ignored by everybody. Personally, I think it's rather fun!

chris johnson said...

Just viewed an interesting presentation by Mike Parker Pearson courtesy of a contributor to Megalithic Portal.

Not a mention of glaciers but he does pull together a lots of work and whets the appetite for a long overdue update on results from last season.

Constantinos Ragazas said...


You write, ”Not a mention of glaciers but he does pull together a lots of work and whets the appetite for a long overdue update on results from last season”.

Any mention of the C14 dates for the samples MPP has taken for dating from the Craig Rhosyfelin site? Or the source of all the Rhosyfelin rhyolite fragments found in the Stonehenge Layer?


chris johnson said...

The lecture is given some 12 months ago so I presume much has happened since then.

Constantinos Ragazas said...


So what was the point of your post if MPP revealed nothing new?

Regardless, has MPP finally released the C14 dates from samples taken from Craig Rhosyfelin? And are there now sensible explanations how the Rhosyfelin rhyolite debris got to be at Stonehenge from Wales?