Neolithic period (New Stone Age) - National Museum Cardiff
Beginning about 4,000 BC
During the Neolithic period something dramatic happened in Wales.
After millennia without rapid change, suddenly there were innovations in many areas of life - farming, building monuments and quarrying stone, making pottery, and the establishment of international connections from Ireland to the Alps.
The pace of change has never slowed since. The introduction of farming around 4000 BC tied communities to the land in new ways, and the rhythm of life changed.
Farming encouraged people to settle in one place, so they could look after their crops and animals. The surplus of food meant the land could support more people, and ensured some had time to develop new specialisms leading, over millennia, to further technological progress.
The Bryn Celli Ddu tomb on Anglesey was built as a burial place for one of these early farming communities. It is the only prehistoric monument other than Stonehenge to be aligned to the midsummer sunrise.
On midsummer morning, the sun shines down the tomb’s passage and illuminates the chamber beyond, presumably to warm the bones of the dead.
A video of this solstice alignment is shown in Origins, as is a strange carved stone found at the tomb.