Neolithic 'henge' in Radnorshire's Walton Basin

Reporter:

Nathan Rowden

WHAT look like just a few fields close to Presteigne, in fact cover up an ‘exceptional’ and significant historical site which maps around 5,000 years of Welsh history.


The Walton Basin has been an area of interest to Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT), who have been carrying out significant excavation work over the last few years to try and uncover the wonders of Welsh history.


One of their earliest findings is from the Neolithic period, where archaeologists believe they have found something that could be as significant as the word famous Stonehenge, on the Salisbury plains.


Chris Martin, regional architect at CPAT, explained that what has been found in the Walton Basin is thought to be a rare Neolithic 'causewayed' enclosure.

Having used some 1,400 mature oak trees in its construction, which has been dated to around 2700 BC, to date this is the largest Neolithic enclosure in Britain, making its finding quite significant.


“It’s really quite an impressive structure when you consider that it was 5,000 years ago or so,” said Chris.

“We don’t actually know what it is for. It seems to be some kind of ceremonial enclosure that was significant to the local population, a religious structure, a meeting place for the community.”


Will Adams, curator at the Radnorshire Museum in Llandrindod Wells speculated that one of the enclosures could be as bit as four Millennium Stadiums.


“This could be as important as Stonehenge,” he said.


The enclosures may be significant if they are the only ones, however archaeologists are unsure as to whether or not these enclosures exist elsewhere in the country.

Despite this, the site's significance is not in question because of all the other era that can be found there from the Bronze Age, to the Romans.


Mr Martin said: “There is a riot of stuff in a relatively small space, you’ve got almost an entire Welsh history in this small area.

"It’s a mind blowing area and has something for everyone, and there is almost too much to say about the basin. It really is exceptional.”


There is currently an exhibition at the Radnorshire Museum on the Walton Basin, and people can watch an interactive video which explains the significance of the site, or it can be viewed at www.cpat.org.uk/vr/llandod/index.htm


If anyone wants to visit CPAT themselves for more information about the Basin, or would like any other information on archaeology in Powys, then you can visit their office on Broad Street in Welshpool.

See full story in the County Times

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