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Great Castle Head Rath

A Scheduled Monument in Dale, Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7066 / 51°42'23"N

Longitude: -5.1866 / 5°11'11"W

OS Eastings: 179928

OS Northings: 205678

OS Grid: SM799056

Mapcode National: GBR G3.0FV9

Mapcode Global: VH1RW.1CXL

Entry Name: Great Castle Head Rath

Scheduled Date: 8 June 1950

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 344

Cadw Legacy ID: PE195

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Promontory Fort - coastal

Period: Prehistoric

County: Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

Community: Dale

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a defended enclosure, which dates to the Iron Age (c. 800 BC - AD 43). The enclosure is located on a narrow coastal promontory above the sea that marks part of the defensive circuit, defensive ramparts placed across the neck of the promontory dividing it from the mainland. The defences consist of two banks and ditches. The inner bank is c.4m high and 12m wide, outside of which is a ditch c. 1m deep. A berm of between 5m and 20m wide then separates this defence from the outer bank, which is c.3 high and 12m wide, and an outer ditch beyond, c.1m deep. Excavation in 1999 demonstrated the inner bank had at least three phases of construction beginning in the early Iron Age and to be of earth construction with some stone retaining walls. The entrance to the enclosure is a simple gap through the centre of the defences. The southern half of the site, including the defences, is now 7m lower than the remainder due to massive movement, the result of coastal erosion which has also removed most of the original extent of enclosure interior. The excavations also revealed the site is likely to have been re-occupied in the 12th-13th centuries AD at which time it was possibly re-fortified.

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, layout, 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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