Capel Garmon – a Neolithic Tomb and an Iron Age ‘Firedog’.
This chambered Neolithic long barrow tomb stands on a ridge above the River Conwy to the south of the village of Capel Garmon, near Betws y Coed. Thought to have been constructed as early as 3500 BC, the tomb is unusual for this part of Wales in resembling similar structures built in the Severn Valley/Cotswold area.
The site has been excavated on a number of occasions and partly restored. The present entrance to the tomb was created in the 19th century, when the monument was used as a stable. The original entrance stood at the south side and led into a rectangular area from which two further circular enclosures branched off. The entire tomb would have been capped with large stones. Today, only one of these capstones, a huge slab of stone 14 feet wide, remains in situ. In addition, the whole structure would have been covered with a pile of stones to form a cairn. The tomb was excavated in the 1920s and traces of bone and late Neolithic ‘Beaker’ pottery have been discovered here.
In 1852 an iron ‘firedog’, a decorative stand for a heath, was found in a field at Carreg Goedog Farm, Capel Garmon. Dating to the Iron Age, it consists of two connected horned animal heads and appeared to have been buried on purpose, perhaps as a religious offering. It can now be seen at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff.