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BRYN-Y-CASTELL HILLFORT, FFESTINIOG;BRYN Y CASTELL HILLFORT

Site Details



NPRN 95496

Map Reference SH74SW

Grid Reference SH7281342969

Unitary (Local) Authority Gwynedd

Old County Merioneth

Community Ffestiniog

Type of Site HILLFORT

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Iron Age

Site Description A small stone walled hillfort, excavated between 1979 and 1985, when much evidence for iron smelting and smithing was recovered. The site was partly reconstructed and consolidated for public display.
The fort occupies the level summit of an abrupt craggy hillock and encloses an area of about 32m north-south by 24m. The most prominent feature in the reconstructed fort is a 'snail-shell' building, adapted as a smithy from an earlier roundhouse. Two stake-walled roundhouses were recorded in excavation as well as stone structures butting up against the fort wall. The interior had been largely cobbled and two iron furnaces were found in the southern area. A further furnace was recorded immediately outside the north wall. These furnaces were dated to the period between 50BC and 50AD.
About 30m north-east of the fort, at the foot of the hillock, a further structure was excavated and subsequently consolidated. This contained several furnaces, fired in the second to third century AD. It is not clear whether the fort was still occupied at this time.
The ore to feed the furnaces was probably obtained from the extensive valley mire to the north-east. The fort dominates this valley, but it is not generally visible from elsewhere.

Sources:
Excavation: Crew in 'The Crafts of the Blacksmith' eds. Scott & Cleere (1984), 91-100
Archaeology in Wales 23 (1983), pp 17-19, 24 (1984), pp 37-43; 25 (1985), pp 20-24.
Environmental evidence: Mighall & Chambers, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 63 (1997), 199-219.
General: P.Crew, Ironworking in Merioneth from Prehistory to the 18th century (2009).

Recorded as part of RCAHMW Uplands Initiative Project, W B Horton, H & H, 05/02/2014.

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