Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Pen y Gaer Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Caerhun, Conwy

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Latitude: 53.2062 / 53°12'22"N

Longitude: -3.8734 / 3°52'24"W

OS Eastings: 274977

OS Northings: 369316

OS Grid: SH749693

Mapcode National: GBR 61.21KM

Mapcode Global: WH54C.GNRY

Entry Name: Pen y Gaer Camp

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3431

Cadw Legacy ID: CN023

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Conwy

Community: Caerhun

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.

This is an impressive hillfort crowning a hill which sits at the E end of a ridge running from the Carneddau to the Conwy valley. The defences consist of three large ramparts with accompanying ditches, although only the inner rampart can be seen to encircle the hilltop. In addition, on the S and W sides, there are the remains of a chevaux-de-frise. The inner rampart is a strong stone wall, 4.6m wide and surviving to a height of 0.5m from the inside. It is best preserved on the S and W, but is visible round the entire hilltop. The middle and outer ramparts are earth and stone banks 5-6m wide, and 6m between the top of the banks and the bottom of their respective ditches. They are best preserved on the S side, and are not visible on the NE side, where there is a very steep drop down to the Conwy estuary. The entrance lies at the W end of the fort, and is protected by the triangular shaped area of chevaux-de-frise. The entrance through the middle rampart is just visible, but blocked, whereas that through the inner rampart is well preserved. There are about 12 round huts inside the fort, ten of which have been excavated. A number of the huts lie between the inner and middle ramparts. Most of the huts are poorly preserved, showing as low grass-covered stone walls. The remains of two round barrows are visible to the NW of the fort entrance.

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.

Source: Cadw

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