The first week at the outcrop consisted of clearing and making visible the rock art on the great stone outcrop next to the Bryn Celli Ddu passage tomb. The outcrop is located north-west of the main passsage tomb, about 140 meters away.
It has been previously suggested that about 28 cup marks are located here, so we set about trying to uncover them all and record them. We made a laser scan of the outcrop, with the results to follow. It was actually quite difficult to see them all with the naked eye, so the laser scan will help identify them for certain, measure them and see if any patterns of depth and shape exist.
We also opened a trench below the outcrop in order to see whether we could find any evidence for more cupmarks or any working platforms below it, looking for any Neolithic activity that may relate to the working of the outcrop by the people living in this landscape around 5,000 years ago.
In this trench, the evidence suggests that we are looking at activity dating to much more recent times, especially as we discovered some modern drill holes, probably dating to the post-medieval period. This tells us that people were quarrying here for over 5,000 years. This rock outcrop looks as though it has been heavily disturbed in recent times, perhaps by quarrymen excavating this huge stoney resource in order to build the many stone walls that surround us.
A second trench was opened in the following days, around a ‘circular’ deposit north of the stone outcrop that our geophysical survey had picked up and so we set about deturfing and excavating this area.
Our excellent team of volunteers, all of them local to Anglesey or north Wales, including Beaver, Jeff, Jim and Rhys Mwyn helped with the hard work of deturfing and revealing a layer of stoney material, with a dark soil depression to the north-east of the trench. It became apparent during the next few days, that this too was the doing of post-medieval quarrying, especially as we were finding large quantities of local Buckley ware and also a beautifully decorated bowl of a clay pipe!
The east of this trench, however, revealed much earlier finds, with burnt rocks, a burnt piece of flint and a couple of worked flint pieces coming to the surface. It might be that this area had also been subject to much earlier quarrying, perhaps by the Neolithic builders of the tomb? More work needs to be done to find out exactly what these finds mean….
Ffion, Seren & Ben