2. The Graig Lwyd Lithic Assemblages – the Material Evidence (Table 1)

2.1 The early Neolithic timber structure and contemporary pit

In total, ten Graig Lwyd lithics were recovered from within the timber structure. The flake assemblage occupied various primary features, such as post-holes, post-trenches and post-pipes, which delineated a structure that covered an area of approximately 100m². This assemblage includes one large, thick and heavily calcined reduction flake (No. 511), two small transversely struck secondary reduction flakes, two narrow longitudinally struck thinning flakes and five small trimming micro-flakes/chips with angled platforms (Fig. 3. SF1167 and SF1225). One of the thinning flakes and one micro-flake retain a ground and polished surface. Outside the building, pit 1619, situated 5m from the western end, contained the upper butt half of a ground and polished axe that had been calcined and fire-cracked. Analysis of the axe has shown it to be made of Ordovician volcanic tuff from an unknown source (Jackson 2008).

Figure 3

Figure 3: Examples of polished Graig Lwyd pieces from Parc Bryn Cegin

2.2 The later Neolithic pit groups

Five of the pit complexes at Parc Bryn Cegin contained Graig Lwyd lithics, which in total account for a sample of 49 pieces. The pits are located on the higher ground, with the exception of pit group VIII which lies near the aforementioned timber structure. The pits and their assemblages are summarised in Table 1 and may be described in greater detail as follows.

Pit group I

A series of six small sub-pits comprise the group and combined they have produced the largest collection of Graig Lwyd lithics on site, numbering 35 pieces. In general the lithics are made on a coarse-grained facies of the parent rock. The collection consists of the following objects.

  1. Block and block fragments, numbering two pieces. One fragment could be interpreted as an axe-sharpening tranchet flake (Fig. 3, SF2); the second is a thick, unpolished, core reduction flake displaying convergent flake facets (L=70mm; W=55mm), which may be a remnant axe fragment (Fig. 3, SF1321).
  2. Transverse and longitudinally struck reduction flakes, numbering five pieces. Of the two transverse flakes, one is the best example in the collection of a secondary axe-trimming flake struck transversely from a wide facetted platform, with the width ratio greater than its length (W=65mm; L=32mm); the two secondary reduction flakes have shortened truncated bodies; the fifth fragment is a small, thick reduction chunk.
  3. Thinning/trimming flakes, numbering four examples. Included are examples of thin wasting flakes struck longitudinally. The largest flake measures 57mm in length. Small trimming flakelets – eight in number – and ten micro-chips may also be added to this group. Most of the flakelets have been struck from narrow angled striking platforms.
  4. Thinning flakes with polished surfaces, represented by five specimens and one flakelet. The flakes vary in length between 40mm to 35mm and have been struck from narrow, horizontal striking platforms. Two flake shapes are represented, one a narrow 'blade' type (two examples), the other an ovoid medallion type (three examples). Two of the ovoid flakes are the first removals from a ground and polished object, while the other three retain remnants of the polished surface.

Pit group III

This group has three sub-pits, and five examples of Graig Lwyd rock debitage were present. Of the latter, one fragment is a truncated, longitudinally struck thinning flake; one a small trimming flake; and the remaining three are micro-chips. Polished surfaces are not observed in the group.

Pit group V

A single small pit produced one unpolished chip of Graig Lwyd rock.

Pit group VI

The group includes ten sub-pits in which four fragments of Graig Lwyd rock were deposited. The Graig Lwyd objects include a large (L=45mm; W=43mm), rectangular, truncated, reduction chunk displaying numerous flake removals; a narrow thinning flake retaining a small portion of cortex; two micro-chips. Examples with polished surfaces are not present.

Pit group VIII

Six pits placed in a rough oval arrangement and lying to the south-west of the timber structure constitute this group. Only two fragments of Graig Lwyd rock were included but both are of great interest. The first (Fig. 3. SF113) is a roughly rectangular fragment (L=45mm; W=45mm) retaining on its curved edge and flat face significant evidence of a ground and finely polished surface. Two large flakes have removed the greater part of the ?upper surface and a transverse single fracture has truncated all the dorsal side of the object. The fragment clearly represents the much-fractured remnant of a larger object that has been forcibly broken. The second object (Fig. 3 SF1341) is a large (L=43mm; W=30mm), ovoid, medallion-shaped flake bearing irregular traces of a ground and polished surface. The flake has a steep angular platform and represents the first removal from a polished object.

Two other flakes were also present in pit group VIII. X-ray diffraction showed these to be similar to material from Mynydd Rhiw (Group XXI) in the Llyn Peninsula but not definitely attributable to this source (Jackson 2008). Both are interesting, since they are the only retouched examples in the whole of the non-flint lithic corpus on site and may be classified as crude, but serviceable, artefacts. One is a poorly constructed side scraper on a thick, cortex-bound flake (Fig. 3. SF1346) and is present in a sub-pit together with featureless pottery sherds, flint, charcoal and hazelnut shells. The second specimen is a thin, cortex-bound shaping flake with a slightly retouched edge (Fig. 3 SF109) and is associated with the aforementioned rectangular fragment bearing polished surfaces.

2.3 Assemblages from undated pits in close proximity to the timber structure

Pit 1729 is situated approximately 16m due west of the timber structure and contained a large (L=45mm), ovoid medallion-shaped flake, with a ground and polished surface (Fig. 3 SF1097), in association with a small unpolished reduction flake. Pit 1647 lies 4m from the western end of the timber structure and included c. 18 micro-flaking chips, which were recovered by sieving the infill of the pit. A thin flake, with cortex adhering to the distal end and bearing three earlier flake detachments, was also present in the same pit. The Graig Lwyd identification of this latter specimen may also be questioned.


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