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Maen Cattwg, Gelligaer. Cup marked stone

Emerging Societies

By around 4,500 B.C. a relatively settled and peaceful way of life had evolved and the clearance of the forests had gathered pace. The first farmers felled the trees with their stone axes and then burnt what remained. Such an axe has been found at Bargoed. In the new clearings they grew crops and grazed animals. They lived in small settlements or farmsteads surrounded by their farmland. Their stone tools were probably 'mass' produced and traded over great distances. By 3,500 B.C. people were making and using pottery for the first time. Perhaps it was then that the hill top ridges across the county borough were first used as long-distance trackways, forming part of a network of trade routes across Wales and beyond.

As well as farmers and makers of tradable goods, these people were also skilled builders. Over one hundred and fifty of their great communal tombs still cover the Welsh landscape today. These were built to different designs and their construction would have required many skilled people to work together. Inside these tombs the remains of past generations were buried together. These great monuments were probably more than just places to bury the dead and perhaps played a wider symbolic role. There are no definite traces of these tombs in Caerphilly county borough. However, it has been suggested that the cup marked stone known as Maen Catwg at Gelligaer, may once have been part of one. Perhaps its cup marks are an early form of art?

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