Welsh Megalithic Mysteries
The influence of the Northern Snowdonian Mountain, Tal-y-fan, must have made an impression upon the minds of the first mariner builders who graced our shores. The attention received from the ancient settlers most likely responsible for the megaliths, borders on the extreme.
It’s obvious to all but the most ignorant, that this area had high importance in ancient times. The reason why it has higher priority over other Mountains remains to be confirmed. But are there tantalising clues as to its status?
The most obvious feature of the megaliths is their presence. They dominate the landscape and it’s obvious the builders wanted them to be seen from a distance.
We can assume the builders came from the sea and travelled predominantly on water and it seems apparent the megaliths would need to be visible from some distance. Dare we take this theory further and imagine they were not only visible from the sea and the local estuary, but that they were obvious from such positions?
As mentioned in my previous article, I seriously consider the prospect that the people responsible for the megaliths in Britain were not only great mariners but also great surveyors and prospectors.
I think they were interested in the mineral wealth of the environment wherever they went. They were looking very keenly at the land and it would be fair to assume that areas of particularly rich mineral wealth would be marked down for repeated surveying.
What better way to mark an area of high importance, than to “mark it on the map” with something that would last millennia? Stone would be an ideal choice of material. Just like a pin in a map, they mark areas you would want to find easily if you were engaged in prospecting.
Coming down the Irish Sea, or up from the Menai straight, you approach the Tal-y-fan area just past the beaches of Conwy, Penmaenmawr and llanfairfechan. From the sea, you get commanding views of the sudden rising heights of the Northern Snowdonian Mountains. What do we see when looking toward Tal-y-fan Mountain?
A Clear View of the Druid Stone Circle
Like a beacon upon the hill, this important stone circle points the way to the riches nearby. To the Phoenician on his ship out in the Conwy bay, this is a sign from a previous expedition of his people, that here upon these mountains, is a prospectors dream.
The megaliths that enshroud the quartz mountain of Tal-y-fan, act as a sort of permanent shrine, erected in honour of this natural wonder.
They stand silent, solemn and mythical. They all have different names, they all have their own folk tales and myths and they all defy a singular explanation for their purpose.
Most researchers seem to assume a religious or ritualistic reason for their creation, but few seem to offer any practical explanations.
I will explore potential practical explanations in a future article, but for now, let’s consider that an ancient culture brought its influence and religion along on its explorations.
Allor Moloch Temple
If you are anchored out in the Irish Sea just off shore from Conwy and Penmaenmawr, you would notice the estuary carving a path inland toward the mountains of Snowdonia. Any exploratory or surveying ship would find this natural water course, irresistible.
Boarding their lighter, smaller boats, the exploratory party would discover a rich landscape upon the shores of the Conwy River. It is here upon the banks of the Conwy estuary that we find an oddity.
Hendre Waelod is the Welsh name for this splendour, but this enigmatic megalith has another name, Allor Moloch. This can be roughly translated as “Altar of Moloch”. But who is Moloch?
Moloch is an imposing figure, an ancient Deity of the Near East who can be associated with both the Canaanites and the Phoenicians.
He carries an overriding sinister aspect, due to his association with sacrifice. Child sacrifice seems to be his main attribute. We see a variety of nomenclatures for this deity; the most recognisable is Baal.
To place a Mesopotamian deity in the mountainous countryside of North Wales does not make sense. Unless you can imagine that he belongs to the culture that may have visited this landscape all those years ago.
More research is needed as to the origin of this name. To be honest, I cannot imagine why this stone monument has received this label.
Why Moloch? Why disturb the beauty and tranquillity of this river side location with images of child sacrifice and demon worship? It’s a strong conjuration and it needs more researching.
Editors note: It is only modern historians that associate sacrificial Gods with child sacrifice and demon worship. In my opinion, this is a misguided view. The ancients held these Gods in high esteem as they recognised the importance of making sacrifices in life. Destroy old ways to bring in new ways.
I do not know how the site was given the name Allor Moloch, but it’s another tantalising clue into the potential origins of not just this, but so many other mysterious stone monuments throughout Britain.
As mentioned in my previous article, Mesopotamian Britain: The Dagon Stone, I am confident the builders of these megaliths were an intelligent, sophisticated mariner race.
It’s absurd to assume, as so many scholars do, that the ancient peoples of the world were cut off and somewhat isolated by the barriers of the sea. To a race that has reached a sufficient level of civilisation, the sea was not a barrier, it was a highway.
A people who have mastered the ways of the oceans, would not be daunted by the prospect of new lands that may deliver them mineral riches. Britain in the ancient world would have been worth the effort of battling with the unpredictable nature of its seas.
It’s no coincidence that Cornwall and the near-by counties are covered in ancient megaliths and, wait for it, ancient quarries and mines. The Tin mines of Cornwall were, (according to history) created by the Phoenicians.
Coming out of the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean, a large well-built ship would not take long to reach southern England. From there, (heading north) around the Cornish Western tip, you eventually arrive at southern Wales.
Along the south western coast of Wales and heading up toward Anglesey you find a large concentration of megaliths stretching all the way from Pembrokeshire to Snowdonia. You also find megalithic sites in the coastal towns of south-west England.
Like beacons, they may have pointed the way toward the environmental treasures beyond. Found throughout the landscape are megalithic structures, whose building material is mostly found within the local environment.
Surely it’s obvious that those who came here to exploit the mineral wealth (and the evidence is plentiful) also constructed the megaliths. Whose placement in the landscape more often than not relates closely to areas with signs of extraction.
The two seem to go hand in hand and it’s disappointing to find that there is no official research into this hypothesis.
The River Mystery
So coming down the Conwy River toward the mountains, you come across a large and obvious megalithic site that sits directly in the shadow of Tal-y-fan Mountain, that megalithic magnet.
Allor Moloch is the only “Portal Dolmen” to be found within the Conwy valley and the close proximity to the lapping shore of the estuary makes it unique. To my knowledge, there is no megalith of this type found this close to tidal waters anywhere else in Britain.
Water and access to it were certainly on the minds of those who passed through here all those thousands of years ago. I say passed through because we do not have any evidence of there being any permanent dwellings here that long ago in history. But it does not totally rule out the possibility of there ever being, after all, a lot can happen to places throughout the years.
The stone is constructed of local granite and the mind struggles to grasp the task of manipulating this enormous structure. It does not make sense why the cap stone of this megalith is so large.
Just what motivated the creators remains to be fully understood. The effort of manipulating this whole area, (not just the large cap stone) must have been enormous. I have not managed to take an accurate measuring of the whole site yet, but just the cap stone alone must weigh around 30 tons.
Originally it would have stood atop a series of upright standing stones, (portal stones) but it seems that only two still survive that are obvious.
These two stones are apparently 10 feet in height, but due to successive erosion and land slides, they now only stand at around 5 feet in height from the earth and grass around their base.
We can only imagine what it looked like when first created. Today it looks warn and neglected. But there is an atmosphere here that’s hard to explain.
A Temple Complex
This whole area of the Conwy valley is an extraordinary place. There’s a reason to believe the whole Allor Moloch site was larger in antiquity. Activity seems to have been widespread. The land itself also appears to have been tampered with.
This feature intrigues me also. Could this be an artificial feature? Maybe it acted as a kind of processional way for the arriving priesthood? This channel extends over the estuary and beyond the shore in a straight axis, east, west.
Sure this could be pure geology, but it looks artificial. There is no major and obvious indication that this is glacial and erosion would not be so precise. But please remember, this is conjecture – much more research is needed in this area to come to any satisfactory conclusions.
We must look at all the land around any ancient megalithic site. Taking into account any changes in topography that could link to the site in question, or that could mark an axis between two or more aligning ancient sites.
These sites are usually found along a solar axis and the sky would have been seen as locking into these megalithic places as well. Ancient civilisations all over the world typically built their monuments and settlements in alignment with stellar constellations.
Enigma in Stone
The Dolman itself has seen better days. To be honest, it’s a wreck. Erosion and humanity have played its part in dismantling this edifice. The soil has swallowed up a good 50% of the megalith itself.
But it still emits power and the experience can remain in your thoughts for some time after your visit.
There are scattered remains of this odd site to be found everywhere in the local vicinity. It’s a shame because we can only guess at what it looked like in its prime. Was it buried? Was it exposed?
One thing for certain was that it must have been impressive. There is no obvious reason why the capstone is this large. Why bother? Why go to the extremes of positioning this atop 10 feet high pillars of granite only to bury it?
Most “Dolmen’s” show evidence of having been covered over. Again why would you build this immense structure to then bury it? It seems like there are too many assumptions that this type of megalith is something not to be seen.
It can be buried and unburied many times over throughout the course of history. I believe that they were intended to be seen in both the broad daylight and quite possibly at night.
Megaliths are defiant and bold. They are not intended to be ignored. They are from a proud and intelligent race of people. Call it an aristocracy, call it a priesthood. Call it science, call it religion.
But above all assumptions, it’s a marvel. Whoever really built these, (and the theories are many) were making a statement. There is a practical element to these structures. But that does not take away the mystery…
…they remain mysterious on many levels. But we have to look seriously at the condition of most of them. They have suffered.
My theory is this; the entire site was in a far greater condition when the builders first created the megalith. This could well go for the rest of Britain’s megaliths, certainly the majority of the genuine ones.
Allor Moloch was made to see, the massive capstone, (weighing in at around 20-30 tons) is very weathered. Was this igneous stone exposed initially before its extraction from the bedrock? Or was it shaped and engineered once it was extracted?
This could be said for a great deal of megalithic sites. The stones used predominantly show signs of manipulation and shaping. If this is so, then they should have looked quite pristine in their raw state.
Why stop at selecting the stone, then quarrying the stone, then transporting the stone, “dress” and finish the stone and not complete the job? Why leave the stone in a rough and un-worked way?
Specific sites that I have visited in Britain have debris of quartz scattered around or under the site. This to me suggests vandalism. It could have happened any time from its initial conception to the last hundred years.
There are many reasons why ancient sites get desecrated or destroyed. Agriculture, religion, science, development, fear, curiosity, greed, ignorance and natural causes to name a few. Maybe even to hide the truth!
There are many ways to look at ancient sites. Why not just really look at the solid evidence? They are fantastic and mysterious and it’s a failure of our species that we do not know exactly why they were created.
Let’s look with focused intent at these structures and be aware of the engineering involved in creating them.
Allor Moloch is a great example of a forgotten legacy. It stands broken and isolated, but it provides us with a direct link to the capabilities of its creators. I think this site could well have been a temple area.
You are isolated from the direct winds from the sea. The whole area next to the estuary is open, flat and surrounded by overlooking hills and mountains. It’s a perfect place to settle while you load the ships anchored out in Conwy bay with boat after boat of minerals.
Where these mariners mined, they settled. For how long they settled we do not know.
They brought their culture with them and built their edifices close to places of wealth and close to major transport access. This site upon the estuary’s shore is perfect for access and perfect for their religion, (if that’s what we can call it).
This altar of Moloch was placed here to be in plain view of those coming down the river. It’s a place of importance geographically also when you notice that it’s surrounded by mineral-rich hills, valleys and mountains.
The explorers came here and extracted what they needed. They built their megaliths, (in honour of whatever, whoever or what for) in alignment to certain geological and celestial features and rules.
They left their mark and the future successive peoples who came here and settled, pondered and theorized as to their function and positioning.
But they also commandeered the site for their own practices and beliefs. We have a lot of overlapping cultures who are drawn to the sites, and for whatever reason, they tend to impose their views on them. I am no exception.
In the next Mesopotamian Britain, I will look at more standing stones found in the Tal-y-fan region and explore the possibility they may all be connected.