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Gaer Fawr Y; Hillfort on Carn Goch

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Map ReferenceSN62SE
Grid ReferenceSN6912024320
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
Gaer Fawr is a very large stone-walled defended enclosure occupying a dramatic isolated ridge. It is a later Prehistoric type hillfort, the largest in south-west Wales. Its walls enclose an area of about 11ha, roughly 680m north-east to south-west by 130-190m. The principal entrances face north-east and south-west towards the gentler slopes along the ridge and there are 'posterns' leading out elsewhere. The main entrance gaps on the NE and SW sides today are modern, with the original gateways now partly concealed by collapse within the stony ramparts. On the southern side are a series of enclosures and roundhouses which may be farmsteads of prehistoric date. A large annex branches out from the main fort on the north side, and aerial photographs confirm that this once continued eastwards to connect with the north-east angle of the main fort. On the highest summit is a stone long cairn some 55m long (NPRN 409533). Its appearance suggests a Neolithic date but no megalithic structures or remains of a burial chamber are currently visible; therefore it may be Bronze Age. One of the most striking features of Garn Goch fort are the remains of at least eight gateways, most narrow 'postern' gates, constructed of upright slabs. That on the south side survives in good condition. Hogg in 1975 (page 51) considered it likely that all were originally roofed with lintel slabs. They bear similarities to examples at Tre'r Ceiri stone fort in north Wales (NPRN 95292), as indeed does the general architecture and appearance of Garn Goch fort. Several long huts and a probable burnt mound survive in the interior 'valley'. A possible standing stone also stands in the southern part of the interior, identified on a field visit by TGD on 25th Sept 2009.

A pottery fragment, possibly wheel-turned, was found in the saddle west of the fort. It was later deposited at Derwydd Manor.

Sources: Laws in Archaeologia Cambrensis fifth series X (1893), 173-5
Evans in the Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. V (1909-10), 84-5, 89-91, 100-102
Hogg in Archaeologia Cambrensis 123 (1974), 43-53

A second enclosure, Gaer Fach (NPRN 100872), of only 1.5ha, is situated on Y Garn Goch, roughly 180m to the west.


John Wiles 01.06.07. T. Driver, RCAHMW, 28th September 2009.