Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Regional Historic Environment Record

Din Sylwy (Bwrdd Arthur) Hillfort, Llanddona

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 2595
Trust : Gwynedd
Community : Llanddona
NGR : SH58638146
Site Type (preferred type first) : Prehistoric HILLFORT
Legal Protection :

Summary :
Din Sylwy, or Bwrdd Arthur, in Llanddona, is sited on a steep-sided flat-topped hill and is visible from the surrounding area. It is thought, from the finds evidence, that the hillfort was probably built in the Iron Age, and re-occupied later on in the Roman period. This is typical for many Welsh hillforts.

The man-made defences consist of one wide stone wall with an average thickness of nearly 2.5m. The wall was faced on both sides with upright limestone slabs, and had a rubble core, but it has since been destroyed by quarrying to the south and east. There were originally two entrances: one can be found to the south, the other to the west. The 4.5m wide southern entrance was the most important, and is approached by a defined trackway. The defences at this entrance consist of an inward curve in the western wall, and an arrangement of upright stones. There may have been a third entrance to the west. The interior of Din Sylwy has not been excavated, and traces of possible buildings have been confined to the area close to the wall.

Finds suggest that the hillfort was occupied during the Roman period, but also before and possibly after this. They include Roman pottery, much of which has been dated to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and a number of coins. A hoard of coins and other metal objects were recovered from the hillfort in 1831. The coins included issues by Nero, Vespasian, Constantius and Constantine. Other finds from molehills in the interior included Iron Age type ring-headed pins which are dated to 300-200 BC, which are rare finds from Wales.

Description :
Hillfort, known as Din Sylwy or Bwrdd Arthur, on a flat hill surrounded by a wall of limestone blocks with vague indications of a number of hut sites, and on the S the remains of a semi-circular enclosure some 18yds across attached to the main wall. <1>

These 'hill cites' were founded in C2nd AD, probably between the first and second occupations of Segontium. While capable of defence they appear rather as a native attempt to imitate towns of the more civilised lowland tribes erected under Roman influence. Condition good but demanded and overgrown in parts. Main period of occupation is suggested by coins ranging from Nero to Constantinius: pottery etc of late C3rd and C4th and native coarse ware carrying an Iron Age tradition. <2>

Both names of the site are in common use, site as described by RCAHM. Vague indications of a number of huts sites too indistinct for identification or survey. Published survey (25inch) revised <3>
Coin hoard supposedly found in this locality - PRN 1596.

A hilltop camp of about 20 acres surrounded by a natural scarp of almost perpendicular limestone cliffs between 20ft and 50ft high. The area slopes at a sharp angle towards NE. Traces of three entrances. Top of natural scarp is crowned by a rough stone wall 3-4 ft thick, each side being marked by a line of megalithic slabs set in the ground. The interior is rough pasture overgrown with gorse and undergrowth. Chance finds include fragments of late Romano-British pottery and coarse native ware apparently of the same date. <4>

A hillfort situated on top of a flat topped, steep sided limestone hill. It is defended by a single stone wall, which encloses an area of 7.5 ha. The enclosing wall is generally just under 2.5m thick, and is made up of two faces of upright limestone slabs with rubble infill. There are two certain entrances, one in the south wall and one in the west wall. The southern entrance is the more imposing, being 4.5m wide and approached by a terraced trackway, the latter being largely obscured by thorn scrub. The western entrance is between 2 and 3 metres wide and is approached by a narrow path. The wall surrounding SW part of site is somewhat overgrown but the base of the early defensive wall would appear to be surmounted by a more modern field wall.

The E side of the fort is very overgrown but the OS map shows a simple field wall where the defences are supposed to be - dense overgrowth prevented confirmation of this. NE corner of the fort has been quarried away to serve a lime-kiln which is situated on the slopes below. <5>

See also <6>

Site visit to ascertain whether the reported recent metal detector activity has been carried out. No disturbances could be seen which could be directly attributed to such activity. <7>

Hoe found on E side - S. Rees preparing note. <8>

R-B spade-shoe found by RSK, 27.9.88, and sent for conservation at UCNW. S. Rees again to write note see F.I. File. <9> <10>

The site is as described in <2>, <3> and <4>. Lynch in <4> mentions a possible third, blocked, entrance along the north-west side. It certainly looks convincing - see photo.

The Gwynedd Archaeological Trust has, since 1988, have been monitoring the site because of continual visits by metal detector users. Iron objects discarded by the offenders included a fine spade shoe. All records are held by GAT. The iron objects recovered are presently in the possession of the landowner, Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley. <12>

A very large hillfort on a flat-topped hill surrounded by natural scarps also defended by a substantially-built stone wall faced externally and internally and with two simple entrances. No certain internal buildings have been identified although there are numerous, probably natural low terraces. The site is now becoming overgrown with scrub so aerial photography or geophysics is unlikely to be productive There have been no excavations but there are casual finds of a coin hoard and pottery indicating occupation in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD and metal detectorist finds of ironwork indicating occupation as early as the 3rd-2nd centuries BC (Lynch 1991, 260-1). (Smith, 2005)

The natural scarp provides the main defence as there are no ditches, and the enclosure wall is only c.2.5m wide and can never have been of any great height. The entrances are likewise simple. The site as a whole therefore is more like a large defended enclosure than a true hillfort and perhaps an oppidum. The absence of houses identifiable as such is odd because settlement remains in the limestone areas are usually substantial and easily identifiable. (Smith, 2005)

Sources :
Smith, G. , 2005 , A Survey of Prehistoric Defended Enclosures in North West Wales 2004-2005: West Conwy, Gwynedd (Arfon) & Anglesey ( © GAT)
Smith, G. , 2005 , A Survey of Prehistoric Defended Enclosures in North West Wales 2004-2005: West Conwy, Gwynedd (Arfon) & Anglesey. Part 2: Management Gazetteer
Waddington, K. , 2010 , Early Celtic Societies in North Wales
Waddington, K. , 2013 , The Settlements of Northwest Wales: From the Late Bronze Age to the Early Medieval Period
Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments , 1937 , Anglesey , <1>
Ordnance Survey , 1967 , SH58SE 2 , <2>
Ordnance Survey , 1970 , SH58SE 2 , <3>
Cadw , Din Sylwy , <4>
Davidson, A. , 1986 , Din Sylwy , <5>
Lynch, F. , 1970 , Prehistoric Anglesey , <6>
Kelly, R. S. , 1986 , PRN 2595 , <7>
White, R. B. , 198- , PRN 2595 , <8>
Kelly, R. S. , 1988 , PRN 2595 , <9>
Lynch, F. , 1991 , Prehistoric Anglesey , <11>
Kelly, R. S. , 1990 , Archaeology in Wales , <10>
Davidson, A. , 1992 , Din Sylwy , <12>
Mason, M. , 1997 , Din Sylwy , <13>
Mason, M. , 2005 , Din Sylwy , <14>
Lynch, F. , 2009 , Anglesey Past Landscapes of the Coast , <15>

Events :
42475 : An 024 Fmw Site Visit (year : 1986)
42476 : An 024 Fmw Site Visit (year : 1992)
42477 : Prn 2595 Gat Site Visit (year : 1990)
42478 : Prn 2595 Gat Site Visit (year : 198-)
42479 : Prn 2595 Gat Site Visit (year : 1988)
40621 : Prehistoric Defended Enclosures in North-west Wales, 2004-5: West Conwy, Gwynedd (Arfon) and Anglesey (year : 2005)
44557 : Early Celtic Societies in North Wales (year : 2010)

Related PRNs :


The above data are supplied by GAT in partnership with its Local Authorities (Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd County Councils, and Snowdonia National Park Authority), © GAT 2014 (and in part © Crown, 2014 - as indicated)
This information is supplied for the purposes of personal interest only and may not be used as part of a commercial project.

September 30, 2014, 3:52 pm - HTML file produced from Gwynedd Archaeological Trust Regional HER
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, Craig Beuno, Garth Road, Bangor, Gwynedd.  LL57 2RT
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