Penmaen Burrows burial chamber, Gower

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Link to Welsh translationThe Neolithic burial chamber on the headland known as Penmaen Burrows is one of many prehistoric remains along the Gower coast.

The chamber is of a type found along the Severn estuary and river and in the Cotswolds. It has an eastern entrance passage, a main chamber and southern side chamber, all largely intact. There are also remains of a northern side chamber.

When Victorian archaeologists excavated there, they found pieces of a human bones, including parts of a jaw and hand. Animal bones, pottery fragments and a handle made of bone were also found, along with many seashells.

Below the Burrows – and difficult to access – is Leathers Hole Cave. Excavations there in the 1860s and 1910s uncovered animal bones from the last Ice Age. Species identified included woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, wolf, hyena, red deer, horse and fox. The sea was much lower and further away from here at that time, and the coastal lowland (now lost to the sea) provided good grazing for animals.

After the Norman invasion of Britain, Penmaen Burrows belonged to the manor of Pennard (on the far side of Three Cliffs Bay). On the west side there’s an earth mound, more than 20 metres long, which was created for rabbits to make warrens in. Back then, rabbits provided valuable fur and meat.

With thanks to Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust

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