The Parc Cwm long cairn is a chambered tomb from the early Neolithic period. It was built approximately 5850 BP (Before Present), making it around 1500 years older than either Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid of Giza!
The long cairn is a cromlech megalithic burial chamber. “Cromlech” is Welsh for prehistoric stone construction. A megalith is a large stone used to construct a monument. Parc Cwm long cairn is defined as a Severn-Cotswold type cairn, meaning it is wedge-shaped. The cairn measures 22m long and 13m wide and is surrounded by a drystone retaining wall (revetment) with a forecourt at the widest end. It is topped by huge capstones.
The long cairn has burial chambers either side of a passageway known as a gallery. The gallery is 13m long and runs on a north to south axis. Given how big the cairn is, it is no wonder it is sometimes called the Giant’s Grave.
Severn-Cotswold cairns are, unsurprisingly, found mainly in and around the Cotswolds to the east of the River Severn. There are, however, are a number of examples in Wales, including five other chambered burial cairns in Gower.
Parc Cwm long cairn lies between the villages of Llanrhidian and Bishopston, near the centre of Gower. Its nearest village is Parkmill to the south–east. The site is just over a mile from the coast within a narrow limestone gorge. Although the gorge is now dry, a small river may have run adjacent to the cairn, causing erosion and rounding to the stones on the eastern side. This is an unusual feature for a cairn of this type – known as a Severn-Cotswold cairn – as most are built in dry locations. The site itself is a former deer park, surrounded by Coed y Parc woodland.