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Roundhouse reconstruction commences at Castell Henllys

The deconstruction phase of a fascinating Iron Age Roundhouse project began this week at Castell Henllys Iron Age Village in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Two roundhouses, the Cook House and the Meeting House (or Earthwatch) first constructed in 1981, will be rebuilt over the next two years as they have come to the end of their useful lives.

An Iron Age roundhouse constructed at Castell Henllys in the 1980s are being carefully taken down and rebuilt in summer 2017.
An Iron Age roundhouse constructed at Castell Henllys in the 1980s are being carefully taken down and rebuilt in summer 2017.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Castell Henllys Wardens began carefully stripping thatch from the Cook House supervised by the Authority’s Site Warden Dylan Evans.

Managing the reconstruction project will be the Authority’s Building Project Officer Andrew Muskett, who said: “Before the Warden Team began, Dyfed Archaeological Trust carried out a full photographic survey. Also, we commissioned consultants to carry out a 3D laser survey of the two houses providing an extremely accurate record of the structures to give a complete  archaeological record.

The frame and walls will be removed during the summer, with the footprint protected for further archaeological investigation and rebuilding of the Cook House commencing in summer 2017; this process will be replicated for the Meeting House which is to be rebuilt in summer 2018.

There are five Iron Age constructions in total on the site: three large roundhouses, one small roundhouse and a granary structure on posts.

Castell Henllys Manager Rhonwen Owen said: “Castell Henllys Iron Age Village has gone from strength to strength, with a new Visitor Centre and Café opening in 2015. The new roundhouses are an exciting project taking place here and it will be fascinating to watch.

“An innovative Barefoot Trail has opened to the public this summer, with eight different surfaces for walkers to feel under their shoeless feet, from crunching flint gravel to squelching clay to wood chips.

“The site also has access to beautiful woodland walks and the River Nant Duad, adding to the atmosphere of truly stepping back to another age at this unique place.”

Hugh Foster bought the Castell Henllys site in the 1970s, and invited archaeologists to begin excavations. The Iron Age site subsequently became the location of the largest teaching dig in Europe during the 1980s and 90s under the supervision of Harold Mytum from the University of York, who worked closely with the Dyfed Archaeology Trust.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority purchased the Castell Henllys Iron Age site in 1991, with the last roundhouse being rebuilt on the site in the year 2000.

For more information on Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort, visit

Published 12 July 2016

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