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Pembrokeshire, Wales

Pentre Ifan

The Stonehenge of Wales is one of the grandest neolithic dolmens still in existence 

Petre Ifan is a haunting burial stack that stands in a verdant Welsh field as one of the most complete and dramatic stone dolmens still found anywhere on the planet.

The site consists of seven giant stones that were placed on the site as far back as 3500 BCE by the ancient peoples of the area. While they all likely stood erect at one time, only a handful remain upright today. Constructed in a “portal” formation the standing stones have been the object of archaeological intrigue for hundreds of years, being reported on by a number of early explorers and archaeologists. The stones marked a burial site that consisted of a number of burial pits. When the site was excavated, the researchers found little in terms of artifacts other than some flint shards likely from tools or other domestic artifact. Further study revealed that the site may actually have been built during two separate time periods with the ancient burial chambers being installed first, followed by the larger standing stone.

There may have been a further ritual purpose to the site as well such as sacrifice or a similar archaic practice, but there is little concrete evidence of this. Unlike similar sites such as Stonehenge itself, Pentre Ifan does not seem to have quite the same devotion to its mysteriously mystical history. However this does not diminish the dolman’s mythic air. 

Know Before You Go

Not a tip for visiting so much as a misspelling of a word: in the final sentence of the last paragraph, 'dolman' is a long outer robe worn by Turks. Spell check let it slip through.Thank you for this contribution to Atlas Obscura. I originally landed on this Pentra Ifran article because we're about to visit Wales and know to consult Atlas when planning our trip, because we look for the out-of-the-way places to visit when we travel.

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