CBHC / RCAHMW > News > Pendinas Hillfort Excavation: Come and join us as we excavate this mysterious monument!
A recent 3D drone image of the hillfort showing North and South enclosures linked by the central Isthmus. Crown Copyright RCAHMW

Pendinas Hillfort Excavation: Come and join us as we excavate this mysterious monument!

On Monday 27 March 2023, staff from Dyfed Archaeological Trust and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, as well as some amazing volunteers, began an exciting four-week excavation on the Pendinas Hillfort. This excavation is part of the two-year project that has been funded by NLHF and Cadw following the successful excavations in 2021.

This excavation will focus mainly on the Northern Gateway and the Eastern Terrace, both areas dating back over 2,000 years. They will be re-opening and extending some of the old 1930s trenches to see what secrets are buried within this hillfort. Through excavating these areas, the team hopes to understand more about the use of the enclosed isthmus (the linking passage between the two parts of the hillfort), just inside the North Gate. Was this a controlled public space? A place for fairs and markets? They also hope to learn more about the defensive Eastern Terrace.

A new 3D model of the mighty Pendinas hillfort, generated from a drone photogrammetry survey from early March, shows the physical features of the monument in great detail.

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University will be using OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence) dating to give a more accurate date for the hillfort. OSL provides the measure of time since the ground was last exposed to light or heat, and therefore gives an accurate date.

The digs will be running over the Easter Holidays, and they would like to invite you to come along and see what they’re up to! The project manager Ken Murphy, as well as the Community Outreach Officer Beca Davies, will be more than happy to guide you around the site and explain their findings. The team will be excavating but will also give guided tours to those who would like to learn more about the site from 10am until 3pm.  If you are a part of a local society and would like to arrange a more formal visit, please contact beca.davies@rcahmw.gov.uk for more information. We hope to see you there!

A reconstruction of Pendinas Iron-Age Hillfort approximately 2,000 years ago showing possible layout of interior. ©Toby Driver, RCAHMW
1. A reconstruction of Pendinas Iron-Age Hillfort approximately 2,000 years ago showing possible layout of interior. ©Toby Driver, RCAHMW
A recent 3D drone image of the hillfort showing North and South enclosures linked by the central Isthmus. Crown Copyright RCAHMW
2. A recent 3D drone image of the hillfort showing North and South enclosures linked by the central Isthmus. Crown Copyright RCAHMW
First day of excavation (27 March) showing volunteers and staff after opening the first trench.
3. First day of excavation (27 March) showing volunteers and staff after opening the first trench. At different times over the next four weeks, nearly fifty volunteers will be digging at the site. Discoveries will be regularly reported on the Dig Diary posted on the Royal Commission’s social media channels. Crown Copyright: RCAHMW

By Beca Davies, Pendinas Project Community Outreach Officer

30/03/2023

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David Kirby
David Kirby
1 year ago

I have made 2 previous comments but you have declined to publish them. Could the recent weather suggest that your digs have upset the Pen Dinas gods? The 1930s dig was done by a University professor and some men on what might be described as a job creation scheme. The findings were not published until after the professor was dead. There has been another recent dig on the same site. What is the third dig likely to reveal apart from those areas where the trenches are being extended ? I understand that no bones have been found . The occupants… Read more »

Marisa Morgan
Marisa Morgan
1 year ago
Reply to  David Kirby

Dear David, Thank you for raising such interesting questions. We have referred them all to Ken Murphy, the Project Director, and Director of Dyfed Archaeological Trust, and I’m sure he will reply next week. We should add that this current dig, involving some 50 volunteers in total, found some  exciting finds. These are currently being assessed by experts and will be shared via a press release in due course. If you are not already a Friend of the Commission, why not join, and we can keep you up to date all news and updates as soon as they happen. Best… Read more »

Marisa Morgan
Marisa Morgan
1 year ago
Reply to  Marisa Morgan

Dear David, Thank you for getting in touch. Unfortunately it’s always too wet or too dry, however Pendinas is a very well drained site, so mud was not an issue. We are used to digging all the year round, if fact digging in summer when everything gets baked hard is more problematic than wet weather. We have been opening up areas alongside the 1930s trenches. One of the main objectives from our excavations is to get scientific dating evidence, something that was not available to Forde. Also, modern excavation techniques and post-excavation analyses have advanced a lot since the 1930s… Read more »

David Kirby
David Kirby
1 year ago

Isn’t it a little wet to be digging ? How do you stop the site becoming a sea of mud ?
What are the chances of finding anything new when repeat digging on sites excavated on 2 ( or more ) prior occasions ?

David Kirby
David Kirby
1 year ago

Is it not rather wet to be digging ? Won’t the ground become a sea of mud ? Have there not been 2 digs on the same part of this site already – one in the 1930s and another a couple of years ago ? What is different about the current dig ?

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