The Stone Age

The Palaeolithic Period (or Old Stone Age)

About 250,000 – 8000 years ago

It is highly likely that the area was inhabited by man prior to the last Ice Age although the passage of the ice has obliterated virtually all evidence.

The Mesolithic Period (or Middle Stone Age)

About 8000-6000 years ago

The Middle Stone Age coincided with the ‘Atlantic’ climatic period which was generally warm and wet.

Scatters of flint tools within eroding peat bogs offer our best evidence of human occupation of this area during the Middle Stone Age period.  These people would have been ‘hunter-gatherers’ although charcoal dust within the peat suggests that they used fire to clear woodland and scrub to provide grassland for grazing animals which they may then have hunted.  A variety of edible plants would also have benefited from this practice.

Mesolithic sites

  • Waen Fignen-felen
    OS grid reference SN 823183
    It is known that there was an open clearing at Waen Fignen-felen between 8000 and 6000 years ago.  Once woodland, then hazel scrub and heath, this is now a peat bog.
    It is best viewed from the public bridleway which climbs up from Glyntawe and runs along the southern edge of the site.

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The Neolithic Period (or New Stone Age)

About 6000-4000 (2500) years ago

The Neolithic period saw the introduction of farming, the continued use of stone tools, the appearance of crops and the domestication of animals.  Much of the ‘wildwood’ which clothed the country after the Ice Age was cleared by the first farmers.  Peat cores samples show a decline in elm pollen.  The blanket peat which covers much of the upland part of Fforest Fawr Geopark began to spread during the Mesolithic.

Archaeologists recognise chambered tombs within the area as evidence of the early and Middle Neolithic period.  The period is also characterised by the appearance in the landscape of field monuments.  These include stone circles, cairns, and rectangular huts began to appear and these are often associated with pottery, flint tools and charcoal.

Neolithic sites

  • Saith Maen
    OS grid reference SN 833154
    This site which may be of late Neolithic age lies within ‘access land’ to the west of Cribarth, Glyntawe.
  • Carnau Gwynion
    OS grid reference SN 922143
    A circular ceremonial site 1km north-west of Ystradfellte.  It lies on access land which can be reached by a public right of way from the village.
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