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Llanmelin Wood Camps
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 01026g Trust : Glamorgan Gwent Community : Shirenewton Unitary authority : Monmouthshire NGR : ST46109257 Site Type (preferred type first) : Iron Age Hillfort Status : Scheduled Monument
Summary : Early Iron Age multivallate hillfort, with Roman and medieval reoccupation.
Description : Initial occupation: The main hillfort was multivallate. The enclosure was roughly elliptical, measuring c230 x 150m, with a secondary rectangular multivallate annexe (c40m x 21m) against the south-east long side and a single inturned entrance immediately south of junction between main part and annexe. The ditches were rock-cut and the banks mainly formed from upcast, although on the north-east side the innermost bank was built wholly of rubble, faced with roughly coursed masonry both internally (a vertical face) and externally (battered). SW bank rubble revetment. At least one inner earthwork of annexe secondary. The earlier of the two phases identified in the defences was of early Iron Age date. The final one, cAD50, involved an extensive remodelling and strengthening of the entrance. A trackway, probably contemporary (but outside the Scheduled area), led from close to the south corner of the annexe westwards obliquely down the hill. The 'Outpost' was also multivallate. It was apparently designed as a satellite to the main fort, and an integral part of its defences (Forde-Johnson 1962, 83). Very little in the way of recognisable occupation deposits were found within the defences of either of the earthworks. Early Iron Age and Roman pottery was found, none of the latter later than c AD75. On this basis, Nash-Williams confidently asserted that Roman occupation cannot have extended beyond AD 75, but the extremely small percentage of the fort which was excavated means that, although the site was clearly occupied into the Roman period, it would be unwise to give any cut-off date for this occupation. Reoccupation: Both the annexe to the main fort and the 'Outpost', contained medieval buildings associated with late 12th - early 13th century pottery. They took the form of one-roomed structures of rectangular plan with rounded corners, a type recorded in South Wales throughout the medieval period, and used for buildings on manorial sites as well as for peasants' cottages (Robinson 1982, 103-104). (Wiggins 2006)
In October 2002, Forest research, an agency of the Forestry Commission, undertook an auger survey of three sites as part of an MSc dissertation "A soil guide to longevity: woodland soil chemistry and implications for the buried archaeological resource". The three sites comprised Welshbury Hillfort and Lower Knole Farm in Gloucestershire, and Llanmellin Hillfort in Monmouthshire.
The chemical analysis of the results of the auger survey suggested that Llanmelin Hillfort had previously been farmed, possibly in the medieval period (Crow 2002).