Constructed nearly 6000 years ago, this Neolithic burial chamber held the bodies of over 50 individuals. At around 40 tons, the capstone weighs as much as an articulated lorry and is one of the largest in Britain. Set on a sloping valley, this area would have been very desirable in the Neolithic period. There is a stream nearby, good soil for growing crops and plenty of stone suitable for making tools and building tombs. We think the mudstone for the Chamber probably came from the area nearby which is known as 'The Quarry'.
The chamber looks quite different now. Originally it would have been covered by an earthen mound. It still gives a good idea of how these tombs were laid out though. You can pick out the rectangular outline of the mound with its external revetment wall, along with the wide forecourt. This leads up to a single cell (chamber) where the bodies were found along with broken pottery and worked flint.
Parts of the site were reconstructed following its excavation in 1914. A supporting pillar was inserted in the chamber and the external walls were re-clad using a distinctive herringbone pattern.
The tomb has collected a number of folk tales over the years. The best known of these legends is that anyone who spends a night at this site on the evenings preceding May Day, St John's Day (23rd June), or Midwinter Day would die, go raving mad, or become a poet. The group of boulders to the south of the monument is said to be women turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath: a common theme in the folklore.