Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Pen y Dinas Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Llandudno, Conwy

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Latitude: 53.3297 / 53°19'46"N

Longitude: -3.8349 / 3°50'5"W

OS Eastings: 277899

OS Northings: 382986

OS Grid: SH778829

Mapcode National: GBR 1YNY.K3

Mapcode Global: WH64Y.2K4R

Entry Name: Pen y Dinas Camp

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 213

Cadw Legacy ID: CN039

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Conwy

Community: Llandudno

Built-Up Area: Llandudno

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 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 y Dinas Camp is roughly oval in shape on plan, measuring approximately 215m by 120m with its long axis oriented NNW-SSE. It is set upon a rocky spur which juts out S from the Great Orme.

On the NW are three lines of defences; the outer two are set at the bottom of the slope leading up to the hillfort, and consist of two scarp slopes. The inner defence is a stone bank or wall built at the top of the slope, there was no need for defences to be built on the S and E sides where there are cliffs and steep slopes.

The outer defences are now best preserved on the NW, and may continue around the hill as far as the limit of the inner bank. They become confused on the N and cannot be traced on the NE. On the NW the outer face of the outer scarp has been dug away, probably in the 19th century, and a stone revetment wall 1.8 m high built against it, to form sheep pens or paddocks.

The inner wall can be traced round most of the W side, around the N side, and half way down the E side.

There are a number of round huts in the interior, others lie against the inner bank, and there are more to the N, however, some are considered likely to be natural hollows. Two round huts were the focus of excavations in the middle of the 19th century and a single hut was excavated in 1960. Finds included bones of sheep, pig and ox, burnt stone, an antler knife handle, a bone button and two hammerstones.

Gwynedd Archaeological Trust completed a measured survey of the hillfort in 1993 and located new lengths of rampart on the SW corner. A trackway may also be visible running up the W side to an entrance in the SW corner. Two other possible entrances, at the S and N, were also proposed.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric settlement and defence. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structures themselves may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques.

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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