We have been thinking about what the archaeologists were hoping to find at Pensarn when they started their dig a few weeks ago. Tony has mentioned possible matches in Anglesey. Maybe they were hoping to find something like this? This is Meini Gwyr, close to the Glandy Cross petrol station, at SN14172658. At present all you can see is two small standing stones and a faint raised embankment or circular cairn with a lower area in the centre. But the excavations revealed an interesting structure with at least 17 standing stones, a passage down the middle, and kerbs or revetments. There do seem to be segments and kerbs like this at Pensarn as well.......
This site is of course interesting because it is a part of the Glandy Cross complex, flagged up as one of the most important Early Bronze Age ritual complexes in West Wales. Herbert Thomas knew about it, and of course this is the same area as his "Cilymaenllwyd" which he speculated as being the possible location for a proto-Stonehenge. So MPP and his colleagues are by no means the first people to think about a large stone monument being erected in Pembrokeshire and then shipped off later to Stonehenge for some mysterious reason or other...........
The trouble is that in spite of much searching, no circle of sockets of other evidence has ever been found for a big stone circle in this area -- and neither has anybody found a stone working area or "Preselite" tool-making factory, although both have been mooted many times over the years.
From the Coflein web catalogue of sites in Wales:
This is an interesting example of an embanked stone circle, a monument type not common to south Wales. Its occurence here shows that the Glandy Cross area was of exceptional importance in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The circle consists of a broad, low, roughly circular bank 36.6m in diameter with a narrow entrance on the west. There is no ditch, and excavations by Grimes in 1938 confirmed there had never been one. Two stones of an original 17 still survive on the west side, 1m and 1.7m high respectively, standing 6.5m apart.
Information from Rees, S. 1992, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales - Dyfed, Cadw/HMSO, page 38.
For fuller discussion see: T. Kirk and G. Williams, ‘Glandy Cross: A Later Prehistoric Monumental Complex in Carmarthenshire, Wales’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 66 (2000)
T. Driver, RCAHMW, 16th April 2010.
More info (Dyfed Archaeological Trust):
The site was partially excavated in 1938 by Professor W.F. Grimes. Unfortunately most of the records were destroyed in a bombing raid on Southampton in 1940. The plan is based partly on ground and air photographs of the excavation. Grimes established that the circle, some 60 feet in diameter, originally consisted of 17 stones which, like the two surviving ones, were set at an angle into the inner slope of the bank about 3 feet height and 120 feet in the external diameter, with no trace of a ditch. The excavations confirmed that the entrance through the earthwork was formerly flanked by upright stones, set in a trench. The bank was set with stone curb extending for some 30 feet on either side of the entrance, in front of which was a clay-filled pit containing a large quantity of charcoal. There were no features or finds recorded from the interior, though this was only partly examined. Some fragments of early Bronze Age pottery came from a hearth set in a deep depression on the southeast bank.
Meini Gwyr stands at the centre of 'West Wales' most important complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual and funerary monuments, lying on a ridge-way linking the wester end of the Preselis to the eastern Cleddau river and Milford Haven. This was a route by which the bluestones for Stonehenge may have been transported. Included in the complex are several Bronze Age burial mounds and cairns or various forms, and a 'henge' monument (akin to early elements at Stonehenge). Also, there is the site of 'Yr Allor' ('The Altar') comprising two, formerly three standing stones some 200 yards west of Meini Gwyr and apparently known by the 17thC. These stones may be the remains of a chambered tomb.
Carn Meini, a source of the bluestones lies only 3 miles to the north. The site's name - 'Meini' ('large stone') and 'Gwyr' ('crooked') may refer to the varying size, shape or angle of the stones set in the circle. These were not 'bluestones' but another form of volcanic rock. Many such boulders are found locally and were originally deposited by glacial action. The alternative name 'Buarth Arthur' ('Arthur's Yard') is an example of a common legendary association of this figure with prehistoric stone monuments and is not regarded as significant.