The Changing Coastline
Get Involved

‘Arfordir’, or ‘Coastline’, is a pilot project set up to record, understand and monitor changes in our coastal heritage.
The project will bring volunteers together to identify and record coastal heritage sites, and the changes that are happening to them, with help from professional archaeologists.


For centuries the sea has shaped the Welsh landscape, and people’s livelihoods and attitudes.
The coastline is one of Wales’ treasures, with sweeping sandy beaches, towering cliffs, secluded bays and abundant wildlife. For millennia, people have been drawn to this coastline and have left their mark all along it. From small villages clustered around a harbour to huge forts built to protect strategic waterways, from prehistory to living memory, Wales’ coastal heritage is second to none.

Everything, and everywhere! Look closely as you walk along the coast, and you’ll see evidence of human activity.
Over 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers used this coastline; today we can still find their stone tools. In the inter-tidal zone – between high and low tides – we can sometimes see the remains of ancient forests, drowned by rising sea-levels.
Around 2,500 years ago Iron Age forts were constructed on headlands and cliff-tops, and since then people have continued to defend the coastline. Forts and look-outs now stand a silent guard, disused radar stations and gun emplacements are echoes of past conflicts.
Industry has left a clear mark with ports, limekilns and quarries standing testimony to people’s work; testimony of a different kind can be found in chapels, churches and shrines where pilgrims and travellers could give thanks for safe sea-crossings.
Fishing villages and boatyards, quays, harbours and docks … there are hundreds of structures which document our relationship with the sea.
Our coastal archaeology can help to tell the whole story of the human occupation of Wales. But so much is still to discover, and much of it may be under threat.