Bryn Cader Faner: Bronze Age Ring Cairn, Wales

Bryn Cader Faner: an ancient ring cairn in Snowdonia (Image: Kris Williams; the ancient Bronze Age ring cairn of Bryn Cader Faner)

“Like an unclenching fist, Bryn Cader Faner rises from the Welsh hillsides, its jagged stone fingers reaching out to the sky,” wrote Morris in our recent article featuring ten of the most impressive historic landmarks of Bronze Age Britain. The ancient monument, situated in Gwynedd, Wales, is a Bronze Age ring cairn (or round cairn) thought to date back to the third millennium BC. Its rather poetic name, Bryn Cader Faner, is said to translate to “the hill of the throne with the flag”.

Sadly, the ancient Bronze Age ring cairn has been greatly abused in more recent years. During the 19th century, the site fell victim to Victorian treasure hunters, no doubt looking for ancient artefacts to place in their curiosity cabinets. A hole in the centre of the monument may indicate a looted burial cist. But worse was yet to come.

In the run-up to World War Two, Bryn Cader Faner was used for target practice by the British Army, which removed some of the eastern stones and pummelled the remainder with ordnance. Remarkably, the 29 ft diameter ring cairn endured, though its 18 upright pillars account for just over half that number that historians believe made up the original site.

Damaged though it may be, Bryn Cader Faner still cuts an eerily beautiful sight on the uplands of Ardudwy.

Related: 10 Historic Landmarks of the Neolithic British Isles



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