Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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A Scheduled Monument in Llanrhidian Higher (Llanrhidian Uchaf), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.6394 / 51°38'22"N

Longitude: -4.1164 / 4°6'58"W

OS Eastings: 253646

OS Northings: 195526

OS Grid: SS536955

Mapcode National: GBR GT.WN9C

Mapcode Global: VH4K6.L2Q0

Entry Name: Pen-y-Gaer

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1950

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3634

Cadw Legacy ID: GM198

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Llanrhidian Higher (Llanrhidian Uchaf)

Built-Up Area: Pen-clawdd

Traditional County: Glamorgan


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 Gaer stands on sloping ground between 75 and 90m above OD at the west end of the ridge to the south of Penclawdd. The fort is oval in plan, about 0.9ha in area, 16m long from east to west by 95m wide. Its south side follows the crest of the ridge and is visible as a high scarp crowned by a modern field bank. The ground within the fort falls steeply from south to north, and the north side is formed by a very steep natural scarp. The east and west sides are defined by an earthen rampart, that on the east being better preserved, 8m wide at the base and 3m high, its crest occupied by a modern field bank. The west rampart is slighter, 6m wide and 1m high. At the north-west and north-east the bank fades gradually into the northern scarp. A gap on the east appears to be a modern break. The only original entrance seems to be at the south-west, where there is a gap of 4m between the tail of the west rampart and the southern scarp. There is no sign of internal structures.

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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