Llety’r Filiast dolmen, Great Orme
This arrangement of stones is the remains of a burial chamber, or cromlech, from about 6,000 to 4,500 years ago. This type of chamber, commonly used in the Neolithic era, is known as a portal dolmen. The space below the horizontal stone would have contained the remains, possibly cremated, of important members of a family or community. The stones were originally covered by a mound of earth, which has long since been eroded away. Elsewhere on the Great Orme, caves were used for key burials.
The Neolithic era was a pivotal time in human development. Before then, people roamed from place to place in their perpetual search for food, but c.12,000 years ago people began to stay in one place, sustaining themselves by growing crops and rearing animals. The process began in what’s now the Middle East and North Africa and spread, over thousands of years, in what’s sometimes referred to as “the Neolithic revolution”. Elaborate burial chambers – such as Llety’r Filiast – were constructed by these settled groups, who could devote resources to such projects now that their time wasn’t wholly occupied by hunting and gathering.
The dolmen’s name is relatively recent. “Miliast” is a female greyhound, “Llety” = lodging. To hear how to pronounce Cromlech Llety’r Filiast, press play: Or, download mp3 (17KB)
The dolmen is only a few hundred metres from the entrance to the spectacular Great Orme copper mines. However, the mines date from a later period of prehistory, starting c.3,800 years ago.