you're reading...
Community Archaeology

Revealing the past through clearance at Tinkinswood

It’s been really busy at Tinkinswood over the past week, lots of vegetation clearance, but also lots being revealed. We are now in the last stages before the excavations begin on the 22nd of October. The excavations will be open each weekend: 29th/30th of October, and the 5th/6th of November. But now, we have another guest blog by Carl who volunteers with BTCV, working to remove all those trees and brush – and all by hand! 

Hello! My name is Carl Newis, and I am a long-term volunteer with BCTV. BCTV is an International volunteering organization supporting conservation initiatives in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Our group of volunteers is currently working at Tinkinswood burial chamber, in conjunction with Cadw. This is a Neolithic burial mound or dolmen located not far from Dyffryn house and gardens. We’ve been here about five weeks now, and the project has been one of the best I’ve ever worked on.

The dolmen and mound are around six thousand years old. They’ve been there since before the pyramids! The cap-stone weighs around forty tons, and is the largest (or one of the largest) in Europe. There are several sources of information on the web about Tinkinswood, so I’m not going to repeat them. Suffice to say it’s an impressive sight, rich in local tradition.

The burial mound is surrounded by a semi-circle of trees, mainly hawthorn. We’re clearing a two metre area around the mound of all the trees, and we’ve cut a vista through part of the semi-circle in the direction of Dyffryn house.

It’s been pretty heavy going. Hawthorn trees are very tough to cut up, with one-inch spikes that manage to catch you every time. We’ve got about five or six piles of cut up trees, and we’re currently in the process of moving these from where they’ve been felled to a safe area, where they’re being burnt. This is quite long winded, because we have to drag the branches to a fence, lift them over, and then take them to the burning area. Luckily we all work well as a team, so it’s going smoothly.

Once we’ve finished the current phase, then there are some other stones which are in a copse of hawthorn trees. We’re going to build a fence around the stones, which may have been where the capstone was found. This will allow visitors to take a look, but which will allow sheep through to graze, then we’re going to remove the hawthorn trees from the area.

We have also been removing trees and brush from another area where there are large stones. There seems to be a mass of stones, and we had to remove a tree with a huge bees nest in it!

Before the clearance... loads of bees!

After clearing: a mass of stones?

I’m thoroughly enjoying our work at Tinkinswood, and I’m glad that BCTV have got involved in this project. It’s a beautiful, interesting place to work.

Or another possible fallen chamber?


About Community Volunteers

We are the community volunteers working at Cadw's Tinkinswood and St Lythan's Archaeology Project


5 thoughts on “Revealing the past through clearance at Tinkinswood

  1. Looks like a great effort. Good luck!

    Posted by Deb Fisher | October 20, 2011, 7:42 pm
  2. i work part time and would love to help you all to discover more history. i was there spring this year and fell in love with the place. i hope i could be involed in this historical moment, i know how hard, back breaking, cold and wet it will be, but im willing to give this project all i can give. i look forward to hearing off you.

    michelle ward

    Posted by michelle ward | October 20, 2011, 7:47 pm
  3. Hi, my name is Esme Verity and I live right opposite Tinkinswood burial ground (in the big pink house!) . I too work part time and I would love to help out at the site. I visit the site frequently when walking the area and I think it’s absolutely beautiful. If you could tell me how to get in contact with someone so that I can assist, I would much appreciate it.


    Posted by Esme Verity | October 22, 2011, 1:03 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Manchester Metropolitan University

Dilynwch fi ar Trydar | Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: