The Alaw is a river on the Island of Anglesey which reaches the sea at Aber Alaw (‘the mouth of the Alaw’), not far from Holyhead. In 1813 a farmer removing stones from a cairn near the village of Elim on the banks of the Alaw came across a stone burial chest (in an area which had always been known as Ynys Bronwen), in which was a pottery urn containing ashes and bone fragments. This was then believed to be the 'four-sided' grave described in the 'Second Branch of the Mabinogi' and given the name Bedd Branwen (Branwen's Grave). Further excavations carried out in the 1960s led to the discovery of other urns containing bones and human ashes, which have been dated to the early Bronze Age period (c.1800-1600 BCE). Some of the urns and accompanying grave goods may be seen at the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery in Bangor.
Click here to see a photo of Bedd Branwen.
Click here to see photos of the urns found at Bedd Branwen.