Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Castell Caerau

A Scheduled Monument in Dolbenmaen, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.9718 / 52°58'18"N

Longitude: -4.2218 / 4°13'18"W

OS Eastings: 250899

OS Northings: 343912

OS Grid: SH508439

Mapcode National: GBR 5L.JT2T

Mapcode Global: WH55C.3KWM

Entry Name: Castell Caerau

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3164

Cadw Legacy ID: CN044

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Gwynedd

Community: Dolbenmaen

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire


The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales). Hillforts are usually Iocated on hilltops and surrounded by a single or multiple earthworks of massive proportions. Hillforts must have formed symbols of power within the landscape, while their function may have had as much to do with ostentation and display as defence.

A sub-rectangular area enclosed by a strong stone wall, situated on the end of a spur S of Craig y Garn. The enclosing wall is 2-3 m wide and between 1 and 1.5 m high. On the E the wall has been largely removed to build modern field walls, and there is a similar gap on the SW. The wall is built of oblong/rectangular blocks laid as headers. At points B and C on the plan there appea rs to be a secondary inner face to the wall, but, as mentioned by the RCAHMW, this could result from the method of construction and not from different periods of building. The interior, which measures 18 m across, is broken by rocky outcrops, and is crossed by a modern field wall. A sheepfold has been constructed in the NW corner. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of later prehistoric defensive organisation and settlement. The site forms an important element within the wider later prehistoric context and within the surrounding landscape. The site is well preserved and retains considerable archaeological potential. There is a strong probability of the presence of evidence relating to chronology, building techniques and functional detail.

Source: Cadw

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