Cefn Bryn overlooks Maen Ceti; a chambered cairn or burial tomb also known as Arthur’s Stone. Maen Ceti or the ‘Great Stone of Sketty’ is one of the most well known dolmens in Wales.
The stone weighs between 25-30 tons. This capstone measures about 4 metres in length, over 2 metres tall and 2 metres in width.
It stands on a northward facing slope just below the crest of the northern end of the ridge-backed hill of Cefn Bryn stretching east from the Iron Age hillfort at Cilifor Top, north across Llanrhidian Sands and west to the mouth of the River Loughor or Afon Llwchwr where it flows into Carmarthen Bay.
To the north is the Loughor Estuary which separates Gower from Llanelli and Burry Port.
The hills skyline above the estuary are composed of rocks from the Upper Carboniferous, and mostly covered in green ferns and mountain grasses.
The hills are of the common land its where the animals roam and graze freely and it’s where the ground is hilly and fertile. This belt of rich farmland meets the north coast at a prominent, rounded hill with Iron Age fortifications around its summit.
Arthur’s Stone or Maen Ceti can be found on Cefn Bryn in the Gower Peninsula. This massive stone weighs over 25 tons and marks the site of two Neolithic burial chambers, dating from around 6000 years ago. The stone is one of Gower’s best known landmarks and has long been the subject of wonder.
Standing above the Estuary on Cefn Bryn, I feel the presence of this gigantic stone and wonder about the ancients who placed it here so many thousands of years ago
For a long time, I believed that Arthur’s Stone is a feat of engineering similar to Stonehenge, where Neolithic people used very basic equipment to move the heavy stones into position and some were carried by glaciers during the last Ice Age.
Below the alter stones, you can see the pillar stones standing to create the burial chambers below and the smaller upright stones are there as support.
Arthur’s Stone measures 4 x 2 x 2 metres, but it was once much larger than this. A big piece of it, weighing 10 tons, broke off sometime around 1690 and can still be seen lying next to Arthur’s Stone today.
The site of Arthur’s Stone was one of the first places to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.
This is my favourite place in the Gower.
Barber, Chris., Mysterious Wales, Paladin Books, London W1X, 1987.
Hawkes, Jacquetta., A Guide To The Prehistoric And Roman Monuments In England And Wales, Cardinal, London, 1975.
*The Gower Society, A Guide To Gower, The Publication Committee of The Gower Soc., (orig. prepared 1965. Edt. 1989).