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Garn Goch CIC

Fact Three: Garn Goch more closely matches much earlier religious (not military) constructions.

Mankind has been building cairns as waymarkers and monuments for thousands of years. We’ve also got a history of burying things and people – mostly dead people – under them.

Then we’ve got some definitely Neolithic constructions – so somewhere between 6,000 and 4,500 years old – and at least a couple of thousand years older than anything Iron Age.

But first a quick word about Neolithic religion. It was all about Ancestors – think of them as gods up in heaven who the Neolithics believed can help or hinder our efforts here on earth, so going on pilgrimages, praying, chanting and sacrificing were all things you could do to encourage the Ancestors to do the right thing for you.

As they associated wood with life and stone with death, they created sacred spaces to interact with the Ancestors by building circles and ovals of stone.

That’s what ring cairns are all about, and 15 of them have been found in south Wales. Mostly they are small – 8 by 20 metres - and located by water because the Neolithics believed water was one way of entering the underworld.

Then there are 50 by 20 metre oval stone built mortuary enclosures from the Thames Valley to Devon, and cursuses – long, straight earthworks. The Dorset Cursus for example runs for 6 miles up hill and down dale.

However, we have other Neolithic religious constructions even closer to Garn Goch. Henges were large scale ceremonial meeting places – religious festival sites, if you want to think about them like that.

They had surrounding banks of earth or stones for spectators, were oval or round, had 4 wide entrances, and were typically about 300 metres in diameter. So big, and they got bigger over time – becoming super-henges - and the largest, Durrington Walls near Stonehenge, was 480 metres in diameter. It’s area, though, is still only about the same as Garn Goch.

The evidence of Neolithic origins only gets stronger when we research Garn Goch’s long cairn.

Fact Four: Garn Goch is not a one-off. It is one of a series of long cairns stretching into England.

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