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Finding the Iron Age

Dr David Howell

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A resource to encourage exploration and discovery of Iron Age settlements.

Finding the Iron Age

An interactive digital guide to exploring Iron Age settlements in Wales

Step 1

Start by watching the short video about the hillfort at Lodge Hill in Caerleon.                     

What happened inside the hillfort? What sorts of buildings were used here?

Step 2

Look at the images from Castell Henllys.                                                                                

Compare this reconstructed image with ideas discussed from Lodge hill. 

Step 3

Using the map function, look again at the Lodge Hill and Castell Henllys hillforts.              

By exploring both historical and modern maps, what can you say about the landscape in which we find these two hillforts?

Tips: For discussion, note features like hilltops, surrounding trees, water sources like streams and rivers. Encourage participants to think about how these features might help in defending the site or facilitating community life in these locations. 

Step 4

Now look at Llanmelin Wood and Sudbrook forts. Use the map button again to see the forts in their geographic context.                                                                                                  

How are they different? Does their geography give any clues as to what they were used for?

Step 5

Using the last four hillforts, including Breiddin, Byrllysg, Dunraven and Pen Dinas, and the map function, look at how hillforts are spread all across Wales. Hillforts are found all over Wales, does this mean that the same people or cultures lived in them, or were they different, separate people? Encourage thinking about how communication could take place between communities based in these forts.

Further learning: Using this template, participants could then explore where other hillforts are found in Wales, building a map of Iron Age settlement sites. Once participants have worked through the activities and become familiar with the PCW resource, they could then utilise the map search mode more extensively. Consider comparing locations of hillforts with Roman settlements. Questions to ask could include: 'what does the location of Roman forts, compared to hillforts, tell us about the relationships between Romans and local “Celtic” communities’?

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