Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Pen Dinas Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

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Latitude: 52.403 / 52°24'10"N

Longitude: -4.0822 / 4°4'56"W

OS Eastings: 258440

OS Northings: 280376

OS Grid: SN584803

Mapcode National: GBR 8R.PRJ4

Mapcode Global: VH4FC.6V7Q

Entry Name: Pen Dinas Camp

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 763

Cadw Legacy ID: CD007

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Ceredigion

Community: Aberystwyth

Built-Up Area: Aberystwyth

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. Pen Dinas, the largest Iron Age hillfort in Ceredigion, occupies a very strong position above the coastal confluence of the Rheidol and the Ystwyth. It has steep slopes on its western and southern sides, but is more easily approached on the east and north-east. The hill has two summits, a lower, broader summit to the north, and a higher, narrower summit to the south. These are linked by a saddle of lower ground known as the isthmus. Limited excavations in the 1930s established four main phases of development. The fort started life as a simple defended site on the north summit, enclosed by a rampart of packed rubble and an outer ditch (Phase I). Some years later, perhaps around 400-300 BC, a new fort was built on the higher summit to the south with elaborate gates and a substantial stone-walled rampart with an outer ditch (Phase II). Later again, the now-dilapidated south fort was re-occupied with new defences built and old ones extensively repaired (Phase III). Finally, additional ramparts were constructed across the isthmus linking both summits (Phase IV), together with a very impressive new main gate. The sites of about a dozen prehistoric round houses can still be seen in the area of the south fort, particularly clear in the southern half. The prominent Wellington Monument was added to the summit in the 19th century.

The scheduled 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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