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giantsgrave_clip_image004This well preserved Neolithic long barrow tomb is known by a variety of names, including Long Cairn, Parc le Breos Tomb, Parl Le Bruce Burial Chamber and Parc Cwm Long Cairn.

A classic example of a transepted gallery grave, the site dates as far back as 3,500 BC and consists of a long mound of stones (of local origin) with a deep forecourt at its southern extremity. A slab lined passage dissects the monument, interrupted by two pairs of side chambers. These would have originally been roofed over with further slabs but now lie open for public view.

Discovered in 1869 when workmen digging for road stone came across the stones of its central chamber, the tomb was excavated in the same year by Sir John Lubbock (famed for introducing the word Neolithic, meaning New Stone Age, into the English language). During this excavation, the remains of animal bones, Neolithic pottery and around 24 human skeletons were uncovered. These can now be viewed at the Ashmolean Museum ( University of Oxford ).

The bodies of the individuals buried here are believed to have been exposed to the elements, to speed their decomposition, before their ceremonial burial in the tomb. Burial galleries, such as Giant's Grave, were typically utilised by several generations, the skeleton occupants of the grave being ritually dismembered and moved around as more members of the community needed to be accommodated here.

Sir John Lubbock believed the cairn to be circular and it was not until the later excavation in 1937 that Professor Glyn Daniel discovered the site to be a long barrow.