AN ancient monument in a field near Nevern has been giving up its secrets to a team of archaeologists from the Welsh Rock Art Organisation.

Trefael was previously classified as a standing stone, probably of early Bronze Age, until an archaeological team, led by Dr George Nash of the University of Bristol, undertook a geophysical survey in 2009.

The results led them to believe that the stone, which is decorated with over 75 cupmarks, is a capstone once supported by a series of upright stones to form a Neolithic burial chamber, probably a Portal Dolmen, one of Western Britain’s earliest burial monument types.

The team continued excavating the site for another two seasons, and in 2012 cremated bone was discovered in one of the trenches that stood close to the stone. It was accompanied by later prehistoric pottery.

The cremation and the surrounding deposits were carefully excavated and lifted by Welsh archaeologist Catarina Rees and sent for dating and analysis. The burial was also radiocarbon dated to between 2,200 and 1,900 BC.

Dr Nash said: "The cremation burial, one of only a handful within this part of Western Britain to be dated using modern chronometric dating techniques, clearly shows that Trefael was more than just a standing stone. Careful archaeological excavation over three years has shown that the site has been utilised over at least a 5,000 year period.”