The burial chamber itself can be entered from the North/ East by a narrow passage which is divided by 2 tall portal stones into an outer stretch (which was probably never roofed) and an inner section. The outer passage was blocked when the tomb ceased to be used.
The passage leads to a polygonal stone chamber which is 2,5 metres wide and roofed by 2 capstones. Inside the chamber you will see a free-standing pillar, almost circular in shape. One of the stones on the South wall of the chamber has a spiral design carved on it. The symbolic meanings of these features remains uncertain and the authenticity of the spiral has been questioned. (When we were there we discovered that someone had put a few wild flowers and fruit at a recess of the chamber. It was nice to see that this fabulous monument still is of importance to some people.)
Human bones, both burnt and unburnt, were found in the chamber and passage of the tomb. Other finds included 2 flint arrowheads, a stone bead and limpet and mussel shells. The absence of pottery makes it difficult to date the tomb closely.
Outside the mound excavations uncovered a pit which had been dug at the centre of the henge, in which a fire had been lit and a human ear-bone place at the bottom. Following this curious ceremony, a flat stone was placed over the pit. Nearby another stone was discovered, larger and decorated with a meandering pattern. The curvilinear style of this decoration with wavy and spiral lines has parallels on tombs elsewhere, especially in Brittany. The original stone is now on display at the National Museum & Gallery in Cardiff.
Bryn Celli Ddu is probably the best-known prehistoric monument on Anglesey, and is one of the most evocative archaeological sites in Britain. 1st explored seriously in 1865, the tomb was thoroughly excavated in 1928-29. The excavations revealed some of the long and complex history of the site.
The monument seems to have begun in the later Neolithic as a "henge" or ritual enclosure. At a later date, towards the end of the Neolithic, the henge made way for a passage grave, a type of burial monument found around the Irish seaboard and also in Brittany. A new stone burial chamber was constructed within the henge and was covered by a huge mound that extended into a ditch, obscuring an earlier stone circle. This mound must have been an impressive feature being several feet tall and with a kerb of large stones around its base. The present mound is only a partial reconstruction, but the original kerb can be seen within the henge ditch and this gaves an impression of the former scale of the monument.
When the use of the tomb finally came to an end, the outer passage and entrance were concealed with blocking. Beyond the blocking, and outside the ditch, the excavations recovered evidence of a small ox burial, found in an enclosure framed with stone and timber, and now marked by small stones which are set in front of the tomb. Such a burial is unusual, though it is generally seen as an extension of the ritual activity in the entrance area to the tomb.
This Neolithic tomb was excavated in 1977-79, and was refastened and laid out for public display. 3 structural phases can now be clearly made out, each represented by a stone burial chamber with a covering mound. Pottery and human bones were discovered when the tomb was 1st opened in the 18th century. The excavations also uncovered stone and flint implements, together with pottery of Neolithic date from beneath the tomb itself. These findings suggest that the site was occupied even prior to the construction of the 1st burial chamber.
The earliest chamber is that to the Western end. It consists of a simple box-like structure, surrounded by a cairn of boulders, and may have been raised around 3750-3500 BC. This was succeeded by the central chamber, which has collapsed; only one entrance stone and the back stone now stand, but a fallen side stone and the broken capstone can also be seen. The final, Eastern, chamber survived in more or less its original form. Its stone retaining wall flanked the earlier cairn material, clearly showing it to be a later addition. The existing mound was extended to cover this chamber, although it may never have hidden the impressively tall portal stones at the entrance.
It is assumed that the final closure of the chambers did not take place until perhaps after 2250 BC. The use of a tomb over such a long period clearly shows the signifcance of such monuments in the Neolithic period.
Sheltered in the lee of Snowdonia, Anglesey is the only area of fertile and accessible land in a region of high and barren mountains. It is therefore not surprising that settlers have been drawn to its shores from the dawn of history and beyond.
Although it is Anglesey's fertility that sets it apart from the mountains of the mainland, the sea has also played an important role in shaping the island's historic fortune. Separated from the rest of Wales by the Menai Strait, Anglesey enjoyed easy contact with more distant regions across the Irish Sea. This is reflected in the early settlements of the island and in the many field monuments that can be discovered everywhere at Anglesey.
Many of these monuments are small in comparison to some of the spectacular medieval castles for which Wales is so well known. They are sometimes difficult to get to, reached only by crossing agricultural land or uneven terrain, but this should not deter you. In return for a little effort you will discover fascinating insights into the ways of life, the beliefs and the customs of many generations of the island's inhabitants.