Ring Cairns

Bronze Age Cairns

Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites in Southeast Wales

The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

For a technical description of how the work for this project was carried out click on the link below. Technical Report

Download a pdf version of the Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites in Southeast Wales report.



Other types of cairns

Kerb Cairns

Platform Cairns

Ring Cairns

To see more images of cairns visit the Round Barrow & Cairn Gallery


Ring cairns are circular or oval banks of stone, originally with a clear space in the middle, though in some examples the centre was later filled in. Although burials have been found in some of them, it seems that this was not their original purpose and they may have been used more like stone circles; it could be that the reason why there are so few stone circles in southeast Wales is because ring cairns were being constructed instead. Like platform cairns, it is not always possible to recognise them without excavation.

Roll the cursor over the images to see the features mentioned in the text.

Pair of ring cairns on Cefn Bryn, Gower.

The photograph on the left shows one of a pair of ring cairns near the Great Carn and Arthur's Stone on Cefn Bryn, Gower. This cairn, which is slightly oval, been excavated showing that the inner edge had been carefully built and that a pit had been dug against it. There was originally an entrance through the ring, later blocked. The scale pole is 1m long and the red end is 50cm.

Ring cairn at Nant Troed y Rhiw.

Another ring cairn at Nant Troed y Rhiw on the mountain between the Afan Valley and the Neath Valley, Neath Port Talbot. This ring encloses a bigger space (nearly 15m across) than the one on Cefn Bryn, which is only about 10m. The scale pole is 1m long and the red end is 50cm.

Cwm Cadlan cairn

This photograph shows a very large ring cairn in Cwm Cadlan, on the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons, north of Merthyr Tydfil.

To see more pictures of cairns follow the link. Round Barrow & Cairn Gallery