Castell Henllys – open air museum

History

Castell Henllys is an important archaeological site on the area of an Iron Age hillfort dating back to about 600 BC. The settlement was interrupted more or less at the beginning of first century AD and resumed in the late Roman period. At that time, a small Roman-Breton farm was set up on the sidelines. Later reconstruction of the hillfort probably had a connection with the Irish settlers during the Roman period. Traces of fire at the gate and large amounts of stones to slings indicate warfare in the area of the settlement.

Architecture

The settlement occupied an inland promontory of 74×88 meters hill, protected from the north-western side by a double earth rampart, a ditch, and a palisade around the perimeter. The gate consisted of a long stone corridor with two round chambers in its course and a timber tower or some form of a defensive bridge. The chambers could serve as the place where the fort guards were located. Inside the hillfort there were round huts, which today’s versions are in their original places. Round huts have been the standard form of housing in Great Britain since the Bronze Age throughout the entire Iron Age, and in some areas up to the Roman period. They were built of stone, clay or wooden piles with a diameter of 5 to over 15 meters. Their high, conical,  roofs without holes, probably served to harmlessly getting rid of the smoke from the hearth, which slowly leaked out through the thatch.

Current state

As a result of archaeological excavations that have been carried out for more than twenty years, the original foundations of thatched-roof buildings from the Iron Age were reconstructed at Castell Henllys. Round huts have been recreated using a wide range of materials, including wood of many types and sizes, reed, clay, dung and ropes. Four houses and one granary have been reconstructed. Although they are the main attraction, in Castell Henllys there is also a tourist center with interactive exhibitions, as well as a shop and a café.

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bibliography:
Website coflein.gov.uk, Castell Henllys hillfort.
Website historic-uk.com, Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort.