The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record

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Dunraven Promontory Fort

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00329m
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Community : St Bride's Major
Unitary authority : Vale of Glamorgan
NGR : SS88677279
Site Type (preferred type first) : Iron Age Promontory fort
Status : Scheduled Monument

Summary :
An Iron Age hillfort situated on a headland projecting west into the sea, partly destroyed by the building of a house within it.

Description :
The fort occupies a conspicuous headland at 60m OD. S of this summit hard strata have resisted erosion and form the nose Trwyn y Witch, but north of it the W side of the promontory is being worn away, and presents a vertical cliff. The area enclosed is 6.5ha, but may have been at least half as much again, originally.
The main defences follow the SW side of the cwm, the SE side damaged by the later Dunraven Castle, but were still preserved measure 43m wide and 12m high and curve round to the present cliff. The gateway was W of the eroded end of these ramparts. 25m NW of these defences the ridge is crossed by another bank, but with no accompanying ditch. At the E end this curves round sharply to the NW and becomes a single bank and ditch following the edge of the cwm and continuing to the cliff edge. Owing to erosion, the relation of this rampart to the main enclosure is not clear, but it probably protected some form of annexe outside the entrance.
Within the enclosure there area three groups of shallow hollows, or hut platforms, 5-6m diameter, the majority are probably the sites of huts contemporary with the fort, although some may be small quarries. The main enclosure also contains two groups of pillow mounds. In 1813 Iolo Morgannwg sectioned a rampart describing the upper part as formed by mass of lime and sand concrete.
An aerial photograph suggests the presence of a filled ditch.
Geophysical survey carry out as part of GGAT 70 (Coastal Hillforts Project) failed to identify any intelligible features in the interior.
Barker and Mercer 1999d; Sell 2000.
Wiggins 2005 (GGAT78 Prehistoric Defended Enclosures database)

A geophysical Survey was carried out for Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological trust by Stratascan, as one of five hillforts under threat from erosion. The magnetic susceptibility survey identified two area of enhancement which were targeted with magnetometry and resistivity. The magnetometry located features of archaeological potential- possible hut sites and further defences (there are also traces of these in the area). Other anomalies are more likely to refer to variations in the hardness of the rock Strata underneath. The evidence of cut features do not have certain archaeological origins- trenching would be needed to determine. (Barker & Mercer, 1999/2000)

An Iron Age hillfort situated on a headland projecting west into the sea. The whole area is under grass. Along the NE side there is a low bank with a ditch inside it. Either the earliest house and/or a replacement early 19th century house built within it destroyed the eastern end of the outer ramparts.

A survey conducted by GGAT in 2000 notes that a flight of steps associated with the later period of the castle may represent the line of a section through one of the ramparts which was cut by Iolo Morgannwg in 1813. His findings represent the only evidence from excavation currently available which is directly related to the fort; an inhumation excavated from an eroding slope on Trwyn y Witch proved to be post-medieval in date (Sell 2000).

Sources :
Barker, P & Mercer, E , 2000 , A report for Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust on a Geophysical Survey carried out at Dunraven Castle
Sell, S. H. , 2000 , Glamorgan coastal hillforts: erosion monitoring and assessment ( © GGAT)
Wiggins, H and Evans, E , 2005 , Prehistoric defended enclosures in Glamorgan with recommendations for fieldwork
02/MM Record Card/OS/1968/SS 87 SE 3
01/PM List/RCHM/1976/Glam Invent/No.666
05/PM Desc Text///1978/Archaeology in Wales/;
08/MM Photo///GGAT/Lewis W/1979-80
04/PM Desc Text//Savory H.N/1949/Bull Board Celtic Stud V.13 Pt.3;
07/MM Record Card/OS//1976/SS 87 SE 3/;
06/MM Air Photo/Westair///1979/Bu 1765;
03/PM Desc Text///1949/Bull Board Celtic Stud/;
010/Desc Text/Cadw/ Full Management Report/2007/ Copy in further information file

Events :
E000727 : DUNRAVEN, UNSPECIFIED EXCAVATION, 1813 (year : 1813)
E001455 : Prehistoric defended enclosures in Glamorgan (year : 2005)
E002593 : Dunraven Castle (Hillfort) (year : 1999/2000)
E002997 : Monitoring and Assessment of Glamorgan Coastal Hillforts (year : 2000)

Related PRNs : 330m, 4365m, 300161

Compiled date : 01-02-1977

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