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Porth-y-Rhaw Coastal Promontory Fort









Excavations were undertaken at the Porth-y-Rhaw coastal promontory fort between 1997 and 1998. Part of the interior and a small section of the inner bank were excavated, together with two trial trenches in the outer defences.

The interior of the fort showed dense occupation with elements of at least eight roundhouses visible within the excavation area. One roundhouse had been rebuilt on at least four occasions implying probable continuous occupation over a reasonable period of time. A large stone footed roundhouse probably a later phase and continued well into the Romano-British period.



Porth y Rhaw. Plan of Trench 4 showing internal structures

Artifactual dating evidence for the earlier phase of the fort's occupation was not recovered. However, radiocarbon dates suggested that the construction of the defences began in the early to mid Iron Age. Pottery from later interior phase of occupation included Black Burnished ware, Samian and a mortaria sherd. This material suggested that the site was in use from the first to the forth century. The remains of a small furnace or oven, fragments of a crucible and a considerable amount of iron slag all suggested both iron and bronze working was undertaken on the site. A blue glass bead was recovered from  above the furnace or oven. Two clusters of three or more, apparently fused, beads of different coloured glass were also recovered, suggesting that some re-manufacture of glass beads took place.

The work in 1999 focused on completing the detailed final report on the excavation.


Port y Rhaw Report (PDF format - opens in a new window)




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