The UK has an amazing and rich history covering thousands of years. Our Roman ruins, medieval castles and awe-inspiring palaces draw visitors from around the world. But our history did not start with the arrival of the Roman Empire. Our Bronze and Iron Age ancestors built impressive hillforts as communities, religious centres and defensive positions. These structures are impressive to visit even today although much of their interiors have not survived – collapsed or torn down. One group caring for an important Welsh hillfort recently received lottery money to improve access and signage across the site.
About the Caerau Welsh Hillfort
Located in south-east Wales, Caearau is one of the less-understood Iron Age hillforts. It’s triangular against a trend of its egg-shaped or circular contemporaries. Nonetheless, it provides a rich heritage. Finds include an impressive Neolithic causeway. The Welsh hillfort is also home to one of the largest collections of Iron Age pottery ever excavated from such a site. Smaller sites such as these tend to have fewer visitors due to accessibility problems and a lack of information. Interpretation boards encourage people to think about historic ruins and take care when visiting them, especially armed with knowledge about the area’s importance.
A Time Team excavation in 2012 revealed occupation began around 550BC. However, some evidence suggests it was occupied as long ago as 6,000BC. A parish church (now deconsecrated) and small medieval castle were later built within the boundaries of the Welsh hillfort. Simply, this is one of the richest archaeological sites in the area. New information for locals and improved accessibility across the site should improve visitor numbers as well as awareness of this important hillfort. It’s is likely the £157k grant will also convert the disused gospel hall to an education and information centre.