Iron Age hillfort, Conwy Mountain

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Iron Age hillfort, Conwy Mountain

 

The stones by the summit of Conwy Mountain are the remains of an Iron Age fortified settlement, known as Caer Lleion (or Caer Seion). It was probably used between c.300BC and 78AD. Forts were established on high ground in much of western Britain because it was harder for enemies to capture such settlements than ones in valleys. The communities in the settlements farmed the surrounding lands.

Excavations at Caer Lleion in the 1950s found pre-Roman objects, including equipment for spinning wool. More than 400 sling stones were discovered – a stockpile of armaments for use against attackers. No objects were found here from the Roman period, implying that the hillfort fell into disuse when the Romans arrived. The Romans may have torn down the walls and resettled the surviving residents in lower areas, for easier control.

Unusually, there’s evidence that Caer Lleion had a small fortified section within its peripheral walls. The two sections weren’t built simultaneously, but it’s likely that both were used at the same time. No other Welsh hillforts have this pattern. The smaller section might have been built in reaction to the Romans’ advance through Wales. In his book Hillforts of northern Wales, Michael Senior speculates that the smaller enclosure may have provided additional protection for the community’s social elite, mirroring the function of Conwy Castle within the walled town built more than 1,000 years later.

The remains of c.50 huts were found within the main walls, and of seven in the smaller section. The huts would have been of timber, thatch (straw used for roofing) and stone.

Where is this HiPoint?

Other PREHISTORIC HiPoints in this area:
Stone circles, near Penmaenmawr – contained cremated remains of children
Great Orme copper mines - largest Bronze Age mines in the world
Great Orme burial chamber - from the Neolithic era

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