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Iron Age Promontory Fort to Medieval Castle? Excavations at Great Castle Head, Dale, Pembrokeshire 1999

Brennan, D, Caseldine, Astrid, Cool, Hilary, David, A, Ludlow, N, Morgan, S, Parkes, Phillip ORCID: and Young, Timothy 1999. Iron Age Promontory Fort to Medieval Castle? Excavations at Great Castle Head, Dale, Pembrokeshire 1999. Archaeologia Cambrensis 148 , pp. 86-145.

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Great Castle Head Iron Age promontory fort has some of the most massive defences of all the coastal forts of Pembrokeshire. However, due to coastal erosion, it has one of the smallest surviving internal areas and the remains are bisected by a former landslip. The threat posed by continuing erosion prompted a survey and rescue excavation in the summer of 1999. The site is characterised by two lines of defences each consisting of a bank, a ditch and a counterscarp bank. It is suggested that the original entrance was adjacent to the cliff edge to the north of the surviving defences and that the present entrance through the outer defences probably dates to the earlier 20th century. The results of the excavation indicated that the inner bank had at least three phases of construction, with the earliest phase possibly dating to the Early or Middle Iron Age. It seems probable that the more massive, second phase of the defences dates to the late Iron Age although a later date cannot be ruled out. Evidence from the interior of the fort indicated intensive occupation during the later prehistoric period. However, no clear structures could be identified due to the fragmentary nature of the results from the small area that was excavated. The third phase of inner bank construction suggests that the site was re-fortified during the late 12th and 13th centuries A.D. Further evidence for mediaeval activity is provided by a spread of pottery within the interior of the fort. It is argued that there is a strong case to suggest that, during this period, Great Castle Head became the site of a small mediaeval castle.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Archaeology Conservation
ISSN: 0306-6924
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 1999
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 03:24

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