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Neolithic Quarry Discovered at Christian Pilgrimage Site in Wales

Friday, October 11, 2019

DENBIGHSHIRE, WALES—BBC News reports that a Neolithic quarry has been discovered in northern Wales at St. Dyfnog’s Well, a Christian pilgrimage site connected to a sixth-century Welsh saint, who is said to have stood under a cold waterfall in a shirt belted with an iron chain as penance. The first written record of a church associated with the well, which is now a rectangular stone-lined pool fed by several springs, dates to the thirteenth century. Pilgrims to the well are said to have believed its water acquired healing powers from St. Dyfnog’s holiness. Archaeologist Ian Brooks explained that some 6,000 years ago, people came to the site to extract chert from local limestone by lighting fires to heat the rock, then pouring water on it to cause it to splinter. Brooks and a team of volunteers also uncovered steps leading down to the well basin, traces of a building, and a Victorian-era gin bottle. The well is thought to have been lined with marble in the eighteenth century, decorated with statues, and equipped with changing rooms for pilgrims. To read about a medieval Welsh abbot's striking gravestone, go to "He's No Stone Face."

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