Pentre Ifan is a stunning bit of engineering. Huge stones or boulders, weighing many tons, have been standing in the same place at at Pentre Ifan for over 5,000 years!
It is a prehistoric monument located near to the village of Nevern in Pembrokeshire, Wales, that holds a significant place in the history of ancient megalithic structures. Dating back to the Neolithic (the New Stone Age) period, Pentre Ifan is a well-preserved example of a dolmen or cromlech, characterised by a large capstone supported by three upright stones. This archaeological site is renowned for its architectural ingenuity, striking simplicity, cultural importance, and the mysteries that surround its construction and purpose.
Location and Map (sat nav Postcode, SA41 3TZ)
It is 11 miles from Cardigan, Ceredigion, and 3 miles east of Newport, Pembrokeshire. Pentre Ifan contains and gives its name to the largest and best preserved neolithic dolmen in Wales.
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Cadw - Helping Safeguard Wales' Historic Places
Cadw is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service and is responsible for this monument. Cadw's Mission is to care for Wales' historic places, inspiring current and future generations.
Prices and Admission
Check for opening times but currently there is no charge to visit this magnificent monument
The Name Pentre Ifan
The site's name, "Pentre Ifan," translates to "Evan's Village" in English, although the origin of this name remains somewhat uncertain. Some theories suggest a connection to local folklore, while others propose a historical figure named Evan associated with the site.
Construction and Design
The monument stands in a picturesque landscape, surrounded by rolling hills and lush greenery. The dolmen itself is composed of three upright stones that form a chamber, topped by a massive capstone, creating an impressive visual spectacle. The capstone, which measures over 16.5 feet or 5 meters in length and weighs several tons, is delicately balanced on the supporting stones, showcasing the advanced engineering skills of the ancient builders. It has remained in place for over 5,000 years!
Dates to Neolithic Period
Archaeological evidence suggests that Pentre Ifan was constructed during the late Neolithic period, around 3500 BC, making it one of the oldest and most well-preserved dolmens in Wales. The site has undergone various studies and excavations, contributing to our understanding of the people who lived during this era. While the exact purpose of Pentre Ifan remains a subject of debate among scholars, it is widely believed that the monument had ritualistic or ceremonial significance, possibly serving as a burial chamber or a sacred space for religious practices.
Celestial Alignment and Winter Solstice
One of the intriguing aspects of Pentre Ifan is its alignment with celestial events, particularly the winter solstice. Some researchers propose that the monument was intentionally positioned to mark astronomical events, emphasising the connection between ancient societies and their understanding of the cosmos. This alignment adds another layer of complexity to the monument's purpose, hinting at the sophisticated knowledge and cultural practices of the Neolithic people who built it.
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