Branas-uchaf Megalithic chamber

Now severely damaged by ploughing, the Branas-uchaf dolmen, or portal tomb still gives a sense of a time long since past when our ancestors made their peace with death in a way perhaps not so alien to ourselves.  What remains today are two upright megaliths, the largest over a metre and half, which would have supported a capstone.  Unfortunately, the capstone has long since disappeared and cannot be found in the near vicinity.  The chamber, in which usually (but  not always) a body, an inhumation or cremation, would have been placed has been worn away somewhat, but is still clearly visible.  The remains stand on a large circular mound, which may have been significantly larger in circumference, if not height.  If there were grave goods within there is no record of them, and as a consequence it is almost impossible to date the chamber.

Situated in the Dee Valley, across from Llandrillo, the chamber lies in what must have been an area of significant importance to the Neolithic and later peoples that worked within this environment.  The area is full of evidence of their involvement with the area, in the many cairns, tumuli, and chambers that exist here.   Clearly, the Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples that lived here felt a profound connection to this environment which caused them to record their presence in stone and mound. The Berwyn Mountains overlooking the Dee Valley at Llandrillo also have evidence of monument and settlement.  It remains a place of wonder.

To stand at the site of Branas-uchaf is to have a sense of a time when the environment itself was very much part of our lives.  Perhaps this sense has not quite deserted us, but it is at places such as this when it feels more present, more alive to us.  If for no other reason, a visit to Branas-uchaf is well worth the effort.

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