Dolmens in Wales

Wales is home to some fascinating ancient sites, including stone circles and dolmens (cromlechs). A dolmen is a type of single-chamber tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical stones supporting a large horizontal capstone. Here we list five dolmens that are worth a visit when travelling in Wales.


Tinkinswood Burial Chamber was built around 6,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period. The capstone weighs approximately 40 tons and measures 24 feet. It's the largest capstone in Britain. It was originally all covered by a mound of soil. The site was excavated in 1914, revealing human bones, along with broken pottery and flint tools.


St Lythans Burial Chamber is a dolmen built as part of a chambered long barrow. It was built around 4,000 BC by the first farmers in Wales called the Silures. The dolmen consists of three upright stones supporting a large capstone. At the top of the rear stone is a porthole which may have been used for astronomical observation. Excavations in 2012 discovered that the original burial mound was buried within a large cairn of stones. The chamber itself has never been excavated. Despite its Neolithic origins, the monument's name may derive from the Arthurian legend of Culhwch and Olwen, in which King Arthur leads a hunting party with dogs on a chase across South Wales after a monstrous wild boar.


King's Quoit is a Neolithic dolmen located above a steep cliff overlooking the beach at Manorbier Bay. The capstone is supported partly by the rising ground and partly by two upright stones. Much of the monument is below ground and is thought to have been built by removing the surrounding soil rather than raising the capstone.


Pentre Ifan is the largest and best preserved Neolithic tomb in Wales. It was built around 3500 BC and consists of six upright stones, three of which support the large capstone. It's believed that the burial chamber would originally have been covered with an earthen mound. The site was excavated twice revealing rows of ritual pits, some flint flakes and pottery. Kerbstones were also found, but not in a complete sequence.


Carreg Samson is a 5000 year old Neolithic dolmen near Abercastle. The burial chamber consists of a capstone resting on 3 of 6 stones and it was once covered by a mound of earth, Legend has it that Saint Samson of Dol placed the capstone in position with his little finger.

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