Ancient Monuments

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High Pennard

A Scheduled Monument in Pennard, Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.5603 / 51°33'37"N

Longitude: -4.0675 / 4°4'2"W

OS Eastings: 256778

OS Northings: 186629

OS Grid: SS567866

Mapcode National: GBR GW.0H69

Mapcode Global: VH4KM.G11P

Entry Name: High Pennard

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1964

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3756

Cadw Legacy ID: GM045

Schedule Class: Monument

Category: Earthwork (unclassified)

Period: Prehistoric

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Pennard

Traditional County: Glamorgan


This monument comprises the remains of a promontory fort dating to the Iron Age (c. 800 BC - AD 74). The site occupies the western area of the Pwlldu headland and commands an extensive view out to sea.

The promontory fort is defended on the south and west by sheer cliffs and by an outer and inner set of defences on the north and north-east - these defences cut off the neck of land at this part of Pwlldu Head. Limestone outcrops within the interior of the fort and forms a pronounced cliff some 4m in height running NE-SW like a spine, separating the defended area into two parts, a larger one to the NW measuring approx. 85m by 43m, and a smaller one to the SE about 25m by 20m. Modern quarrying along the base of this cliff has resulted in banks of upcast that are not part of the defensive earthworks. The inner defence runs in an arc some 80m long across the whole of the headland but is divided into two halves by the cliff. The ramparts in this part of the monument measure approx. 6m wide with a slight outer ditch measuring 2.5-3.5m wide. About midway along the rampart is an entrance 2m wide approached by a causeway across the ditch; to the south of the entrance the defences curve in sharply to merge with the cliff edge. The outer defences are confined to the eastern section of the headland above the low cliff. They lie 18m beyond the inner line and consist of a bank 40m long and 5-7m wide, and 2m high externally, with an outer ditch 3-5m wide and nearly 1m deep. A narrow break about the middle of the rampart is probably modern. The south-east end of this defensive line ends 17m short of the cliff edge and has an unfinished appearance. The site was excavated by Audrey Williams (Mrs WF Grimes) in 1939 and found to contain three areas of occupation. Small finds included bones of cattle, pig and sheep; shells of limpet, mussel, periwinkle, oyster and whelk; charcoal; two slingstones; pot-boilers; fragments of clay daub; and pottery.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of late prehistoric defensive organisation. The monument forms an important element within the wider Iron Age context and may be expected to contain archaeological information in regard to elements such as chronology, building techniques and social organisation.

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

Source: Cadw

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