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Description

On Monday the 16th of November 2009, it was reported that the large standing stone close to Llanfechell had fallen down. Cadw and the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust duly inspected the site and work was started to excavate the stone-hole and re-erect the standing stone.
Standing stones are common in Anglesey and north Wales but their purpose is still unknown. Some excavated stones, such as the standing stone found beneath the mound at Bedd Branwen, have been dated to the early Neolithic period (around 4000–3000 BCE). Others are associated with the Bronze Age (1700 – 700 BCE).

There were few artefacts from this site, but of interest was the presence of a cup-and-ring marked stone evidently used as a packing stone and now cared for at Oriel Môn. Cup and cup and ring marks have been found on many prehistoric monuments, including Tŷ Newydd Cromlech near Llanfaelog and on rock outcrops in prominent locations. The markings on this particular stone are rather crude, especially when compared to the patterned stones at Barclodiad y Gawres, which were produced by pecking with a small stone and then grinding. This stone also includes an elongated cup mark, believed to be two small cup marks joined together.

At the end of the excavation, the 2.4 metre tall standing stone, weighing 4½ tons, was successfully re-erected in its original location.
Engraved prehistoric cup-and-ring marks in Wales are extremely rare with only one other known, which is on the upper face of a Neolithic chambered tomb in Pembrokeshire. What makes the Llanfechell Stone special is that prior to being used as a packing deposit, it was probably incorporated into an earlier monument, possible forming the remnant of a capstone belonging to a stone chamber burial-ritual site.

The stone, which measures 57cm x 54cm x 17cm, was donated to Oriel Môn’s museum collection by Professor Robin Grove-White.

With thanks to the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust and Professor George Nash.

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