Excavation of the Pentrehobin ring-ditch : Trial Excavation and Survey, 2010.

Nigel W Jones.(CPAT)

(funded by CADW )

A programme of small-scale excavation and geophysical was conducted on the site of a large ring-ditch at Pentrehobin, on the south-east of Mold, in Flintshire [SJ24616240], in August 2010. The work was funded by Cadw as part of a Study of usually large ring-ditches which was undertaken following the completion of the pan-Wales survey of funerary and ritual monuments. Previous work included a trial excavation on a site of a 100m-diameter ring-ditch at Walton Court in the Walton Basin which indicated that the monument had been constructed before 2570-2300 BC (Jones 2010).

As a prelude to the [ Pentrehobin ] excavation a magnetometer survey was undertaken in order to confirm the location of the ring-ditch and identify any potential internal features. Part of the ditch circuit was identified together with a large, lightly off-centre pit, and this was used as a guide to position the excavation trench The excavations demonstrated that the ring-ditch, which was initially known only from cropmark evidence, represents the remains of what was originally an impressive burial mound. The surrounding ditch was about 4m wide and 2m deep, with an external diameter of around 44m. The upcast from the ditch would have formed a substantial mound, sealing at least three internal features, one of which may have been dated to 2400-2130 cal. BC. Further dating evidence was provided by several sherds which could belong to the early Iron Age.

A more detailed technical report to the above, also by the Clwyd-Powys Archaelogical Trust investigator Nigel W Jones and can now be consulted on www.cpt.org.uk/cpat/cptbib.htm by rolling the cursor down to the second article for Jones NW (2011).
In brief, it informs us that to the west of the Bronze Age barrow on the lands of Pentrehobin, known as Dol yr Orsedd there is a large ‘nearly round’ crop-mark with an internal diameter of 44m and that the surrounding ditch was approximately 4m wide and 2m in depth, which has revealed numerous undecorated pottery shards dateable to mid Bronze Age to early Iron Age. Numerous pits have also been unearthed containing charcoal (oak), representative of a wooden coffin perhaps? And giving a radio-carbon date of 2404-2130 ca. BC. The archaeologist’s concluding remarks are

North-east Wales, particularly between the rivers Conwy and Dee/Dyfrdwy contain numerous barrows of this period; No.47 at Brennig, for example has been radio-carbon dated to 2210-2070 BC This points to an era when this part of Britain was dominated by a powerful technically advanced people who were responsible for the copper mines on the Great Orme and who possibly had their administrative centre (?) in Ystrad Alun. The gold cape of Mold discovered at Bryn-yr-ellyllon has recently been reassessed by the British Museum as having been made during the early Bronze Age, c. 1900-1600 BC.

  1. N W Jones, ‘Formtive Henges • Pentrehobin ring-ditch,’ CPA T Annual Review,2010/11, 2/7
  2. N W Jones, ‘Pentrehobin Ring-ditch, Mold, Flintshire . Trial, Excavations and Survey,’ CPAT Report 1078 (August 2010).
  3. Catalogue The Mold Cape : Exhibitions @ Cardiff & Wrexham, July-Sept 2013,3/7. How far back does the first cape take us!?

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