Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Castell Nadolig

A Scheduled Monument in Penbryn, Ceredigion

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Latitude: 52.1257 / 52°7'32"N

Longitude: -4.4869 / 4°29'12"W

OS Eastings: 229857

OS Northings: 250401

OS Grid: SN298504

Mapcode National: GBR D6.8CQ4

Mapcode Global: VH3K1.5TTV

Entry Name: Castell Nadolig

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1857

Cadw Legacy ID: CD053

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Ceredigion

Community: Penbryn

Traditional County: Cardiganshire


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 located 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. Castell Nadolig occupies a rounded summit with views to the south and west. The modern road to the south of the fort may perpetuate an ancient east-west route along the watershed. The hillfort is an oval concentric enclosure, measuring c.220m by 170m overall, the inner circuit being c.120m by 70m; both circuits are defined by banks and ditches standing in places up to 2-3m high, but otherwise largely reduced to scarps. There is good evidence for massive stonework used in the rampart walling. On the east side a roughly crescentic annexe measures c.30m wide by 110m long. The land between the ramparts is cultivated, with more recent cross-banks constructed as part of the farming landscape. Earthworks on the south-east suggest an inturned entrance and holloway, while further earthwork features are visible between the two main enclosures and beyond the western rampart but are not fully understood. Finds unearthed during the 19th century included a pair of spoons, possibly used in divination, and three urns with cremated remains.

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.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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