Ancient Monuments

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Three Camps on Harding's Down

A Scheduled Monument in Llangennith, Llanmadoc and Cheriton (Llangynydd, Llanmadog a Cheriton), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.5929 / 51°35'34"N

Longitude: -4.2582 / 4°15'29"W

OS Eastings: 243672

OS Northings: 190647

OS Grid: SS436906

Mapcode National: GBR GR.2DW5

Mapcode Global: VH3MW.47Q6

Entry Name: Three Camps on Harding's Down

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1964

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3760

Cadw Legacy ID: GM060

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Llangennith, Llanmadoc and Cheriton (Llangynydd, Llanmadog a Cheriton)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises the remains of three forts on Harding's Down which probably date to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74). Located close together, they are all different and may have served different purposes. Whether or not they were contemporary is not known. The largest and most complete is the westernmost one. This has a main enclosure, roughly oval in shape, defended by a substantial single bank and ditch. Excavation showed the bank to be rubble-built, with a drystone revetment on the outside. On the weakest, east side, there are two stretches of outer rampart below the main enclosure, the outermost of which continues around towards the north as a low scarp or bank to form partial outer enclosure. The entrance to the main enclosure is on the north-east side, where this outer scarp meets the main bank. It is a simple gap with a level track leading up to it. Excavation showed that this entrance was cobbled, its sides stone-lined, and was closed by gates supported on four large posts, the holes for which were found in the corners. Inside, the remains of two round houses were found, along with a few pieces of mid-Iron Age pottery. A further hut platform, just to the south of the northernmost one, was left unexcavated.

On the summit of Hardings Down is a semi-circular rampart that appears to be an unfinished hillfort. A short stretch of isolated bank on the west side indicates its intended extent. On this bank there is a short stretch of stone revetment still in place on its inner face. The fort has a single bank and in places a ditch. The entrance is a simple gap in the middle of the east side. Beyond it on this side is an incomplete outer enclosure, smaller than the main one, surrounded only by a low bank or scarp. This outer annexe may have been intended for animals.

To the north of the summit is a small circular enclosure surrounded by a bank, ditch and for the most part a counterscarp bank. This smaller 'fort' would appear to be just a defended homestead. Its entrance, on the north-west side, is approached by a hollow way between low stony banks. Inside there is one circular house platform on the west side up against the bank.

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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