Timeline: Neolithic henge at Vaynor farm, Carmarthenshire

The henge in its landscape setting, with the pipeline traversing the hills and valleys beyond
The henge in its landscape setting, with the pipeline traversing the hills and valleys beyond

As reported in CA’s latest Monograph, Timeline, some of the discoveries made along the South Wales natural gas pipeline were spectacular, not least of which was a previously unknown henge monument located on a ridge overlooking the River Taf.

Surviving as two ‘banana’-shaped rock-cut ditches with post or stone sockets along the interior, this represents the most south-westerly henge discovered in Wales. Statistical modelling of a large number of radiocarbon dates indicated that it was built during the Late Neolithic, before 2600 cal BC. The monument may have been deliberately slighted, perhaps when the high ground was used for burial during the Bronze Age at which time the henge may have been an unwelcome reminder of an earlier religion.

The rock-cut henge ditch, showing a sequence of infilling
The rock-cut henge ditch, showing a sequence of infilling

The henge banks and ditches remained as earthworks however, attracting attention during the Early Roman period, when they may have been the focus of small-scale occupation or religious activity, something captured in a reconstruction drawing of the site created by Mark Gridley (below). The landscape shown in this drawing is based on extensive environmental sampling and analysis undertaken along the entire pipeline route, which allowed changes in climate, fauna and flora across the millennia, and the impact of human land use, to be studied in close detail.

Jon Hart

The henge during the Early Roman period
The henge during the Early Roman period. Reconstruction by Mark Gridley.
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