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Flintshire Historical Society journal


Vol. 31 1983-1984

Report on the excavation of a Bronze Age barrow at Llong near Mold

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'Golden Barrow' at Mold which had in the last century produced the gold cape
which, in 1953, had been republished in a notable study by T. G. E. Powell. It was
hoped that this barrow might be equally rewarding, but since its position was
unusually close to the river, it was decided that the first season's work should be
limited to a single trial trench to confirm the nature of the mound. This was done
in 1954, and in 1955 more extensive work was done in the SE quadrant where an
assymetrically-placed primary inhumation was found beneath a small cairn. In the
cairn, but not directly associated with the body, was a necklace of tiny jet beads
and some parcels of cremated bone. Two or three secondary cremations had been
found elsewhere in the mound, two in 1954. In 1956 work was limited to confirming
features of the barrow structure.
The barrow lies close to the village of Llong where the river Alyn flows through
a wide, flat valley with gentle wooded slopes on either side. It is only some 50
metres from the river itself, the lowest of a group of valley-bottom barrows which
are to be found in this neighbourhood, contrasting with the more usual hilltop
siting of such monuments. The site was first recorded by Canon Ellis Davies in his
Prehistoric and Roman Remains of Flintshire (1949, 246), where he notes that the
field in which it stands is called 'Dol yr Orsedd' in the Tithe Schedule, a name
which suggests that the mound was then more obvious and more stony. At the time
of the excavation the barrow was no more than a low swelling in the middle of the
field, having lost, it was thought, more than 0.50m of height through ploughing.
In 1954 the trial excavation lasted only four days (25-28 September) and a single
trench, 3ft (1m) wide and 57ft (17.50m) long was dug from outside the mound
towards the centre in an E-W direction. The sepulchral nature of the mound was
confirmed by the discovery of two cremations close to the surface. One seems to
have been found near the outer edge of the mound and was readily recognized as a
secondary insertion; alterations in the text of a typed report suggest that there was
some doubt about the status of the second one, which may therefore have been
deeper and closer to the centre, but it, too, was finally identified as a secondary
burial. The bones (Find A(JC)) have been identified as those of an adult of indeter-
minate sex. The first cremation can be less certainly identified but is probably Find
C(JC), another adult, probably female. In neither case was more than a token
quantity of bone recovered, but this may be due to the erosion of the barrow
The 1954 trench revealed that the barrow survived to a height of 4ft (1.22m) and
should have had a diameter of about 100ft (30m); the structure was shown to be
quite complex. The account of this year's work states that the primary burial had
not been found, but must have been covered by a small cairn of water-rolled
boulders which was in turn covered by a sequence of gravel and clay layers
bounded by a stone 'edging'. This statement is important because it implies that
the 1954 trench struck the edge of the cairn which, in the following year, was
indeed found to cover the primary burial. The dimensions of this cairn are never
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