Site of Iron Age community, Garn Boduan

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Remnants of at least 170 prehistoric huts have been found on Garn Boduan, indicating that a large community lived here. The hill is also reputedly linked to a descendant of the heroic early medieval prince Llywarch Hen (see below).

Aerial photo of huts and hillforts at Garn BoduanThe hill, 279 metres above sea level at its summit, consists of hard volcanic rock and stands in isolation in the landscape. The slopes on all sides made the upper part easy to defend, and freshwater was available from springs.

Walls of one of Britain’s biggest Iron Age hillforts are visible. They were possibly built in more than phase. Objects found there include a stone axe head, slingstones (used as ammunition) and Roman glass beads.

The foundations of more than 150 roundhouses lie within the hillfort’s walls. Some are shaped like snails, when viewed from above. Others are below the walls, south and east of the summit.

Plan of archaeological remains on Garn BoduanRemains of a smaller hillfort, on the eastern side, are thought to date from the centuries after the Roman occupation of Britain. The aerial photo and plan of the hill are shown here courtesy of Gwynedd Archaeological Trust.

The name Boduan is thought to denote the home of Buan. His grandfather was reputedly Llywarch Hen, who lived in the 6th century and is the subject of heroic legends which were written in the 9th century.

By the 20th century, the hill was covered in dense woodland. A fire around the summit in the 1970s/early 1980s exposed more of the prehistoric remains and allowed other plants to become established.

With thanks to Gwynedd Archaeological Trust for information and images

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