Archaeological investigations at Pen Dinas, the largest hillfort in Ceredigion, Wales, are set to continue thanks to a £143,243 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and additional funding from the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Cadw.
The Iron Age enclosure situated above the village of Penparcau, near Aberystwyth, was subject to excavations last autumn as part of a community-based project led by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust (DAT).
The team of 60 volunteers uncovered two rock-cut hut platforms comprising floor surfaces, palisade slots, and stone-lined drains, as well as two phases of defences. Amber beads and a stone spindle whorl were among the numerous artefacts also unearthed.
Led by DAT in partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, this latest project will run over the course of two years and involve members of the Penparcau Forum and other local community groups.
It is hoped that further excavation work and geophysical surveying will shed greater light on the ways in which Pen Dinas was used by its Iron Age inhabitants.
Volunteers will have the chance to work with local wildlife experts in clearing bracken and gorse away from the site, and improving the hilltop for rare plants and birdlife.
There will also be opportunities for storytelling, pottery making, and guided walks, which will culminate in a weekend festival to showcase the results of these activities.
Christopher Catling, the Royal Commission’s Chief Executive and contributing editor for Current Archaeology, said: ‘we fully intend that this should be a model project in terms of consensual decision-making and co-production with our community partners.
‘It is a failing of many “community archaeology” projects that volunteers are secondary participants, whereas we want this project to show what can be achieved when the community itself is the primary driver, asking the questions and creating new knowledge in the process of answering them.’