Posts Subscribe to Heritage of Wales News Blog Posts      All Comments Subscribe to Heritage of Wales News Blog Posts     Cymraeg

Monday, 23 March 2015

A New Archaeological Survey of Llanmelin Wood Hillfort, Caerwent

Survey in progress by Royal Commission Investigators at Llanmelin Wood hillfort, March 2015. Here GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) technology is used to gather highly accurate 3D data.
A new archaeological survey is in progress at the magnificent Llanmelin Wood Iron Age hillfort, which overlooks Caerwent Roman town in south-east Wales. The Royal Commission is working closely with Cadw to provide a new detailed survey and understanding of this important hillfort to underpin a programme of new management, access and interpretation.

In the early 1930s Llanmelin hillfort was the focus of intense activity. An original survey by Sir Mortimer Wheeler was improved by V. E. Nash-Williams who conducted three seasons of excavation between 1930-32. At the time the hillfort was thickly wooded with virtually no clear sight lines. Nash-Williams excavated many narrow excavation trenches and running sections to explore the hillfort. In 2012 a new community excavation led by Cadw with Archaeology Wales was carried out to recover better artefactual and dating evidence including evidence for occupation into the Romano-British period.

Over 80 years on from the original survey, archaeologists Louise Barker and Toby Driver have returned to make a new detailed record of the fort. This is a site where many questions remain. The main hillfort has massive defences like many in south Wales, but it is flanked by a rectangular annex divided into two main compounds and bounded by massive linear earthworks. The 1930s excavations produced two human skeletons on the peripheries of the annex, an incredibly rare find for any Welsh hillfort. Previous opinion has suggested the rectangular compounds were for keeping stock, but there are few entrances. Reappraisal of the site in the Gwent County History suggested Llanmelin may be a late Iron Age oppidum with high status funerary enclosures – the annex - developed alongside the settlement.

Llanmelin hillfort from the air in 2011, AP_2011_1115.
The new survey has identified previously unknown parts of the hillfort defences, discovered traces of an early phase enclosure within the main hillfort and recorded evidence of alterations or rebuilds to the ramparts. It is also making an accurate record of all the 1930s trenches, documenting management issues like animal burrows and erosion, and shedding new light on all parts of this complex site. When complete this will provide a starting point for a fresh appraisal of one of the most important Iron Age hillforts in south-east Wales.

Louise Barker and Toby Driver
Subscribe to the Heritage of Wales News and sign up for the full feed RSS, just click this Subscribe to Heritage of Wales News Blog Posts RSS button and subscribe!

Also find us on:
Facebook Twitter Google-plus YouTube Facebook Flickr

Twitter Hashtag: #RCAHMWales

Share this post:


Post a Comment
Please comment and let us know your views or your news. Remember that what you write can be read by everyone. RCAHMW reserves the right not to publish offensive or inaccurate material.


Related Posts with Thumbnails