Castell Henllys – hillfort


   The fortified settlement of Castell Henllys was built in the Iron Age around 600 BC. The settlement of the hillfort was discontinued 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.


   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 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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Cunliffe B., Iron Age Britain, London 1995.
The Royal Commission on The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions in Wales and Monmouthshire. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire, VII County of Pembroke, London 1925.

Website, Castell Henllys hillfort.
Website, Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort.