Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Pen y Gaer Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Llanaelhaearn, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.9838 / 52°59'1"N

Longitude: -4.3419 / 4°20'31"W

OS Eastings: 242876

OS Northings: 345505

OS Grid: SH428455

Mapcode National: GBR 5F.J1Q7

Mapcode Global: WH445.88ND

Entry Name: Pen y Gaer Camp

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 568

Cadw Legacy ID: CN052

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Gwynedd

Community: Llanaelhaearn

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire


The monument comprises the remains of a small stone-built 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 or stone walls 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.

The monument occupies the top of an isolated hill and is defended by a single stone wall, which is interrupted on the E by rocky outcrops. The entrance is on the W side; it is just over 2m wide and the opposing faces are still visible amongst the fallen rubble. N of the entrance the outer face of the wall is 1.7m high. The inner face is not visible, but the wall was probably about 3.5m wide. S of the entrance the wall is thicker, and shows an inner wall standing within the main wall, both with a marked batter. The inner wall is just over a metre wide, whereas the outer wall is nearly 5m wide. Along the S side of the fort the inner face of the rampart is overlain by a modern field wall, but the outer face is visible for parts of its length. The E side of the fort is protected by a rampart running between the rocky outcrops, the outer face of which is visible in two places. On the N side of the fort the rampart is visible as a stone bank, with a single course of the outer face occasionally visible. On the SW it is possible to make out wall foundations which do not fit in with the general line of the wall; these may mark another entrance. There are a number of huts in the interior of the fort.

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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