It could indeed have been a place where a military guard stood

It could indeed have been a place where a military guard stood

Why prehistoric Welsh people built so many forts on hills

buy canada goose jacket cheap Fiona Gale, archaeologist for Denbighshire County who spearheaded the Heather and Hillforts project, stops on the dirt path. She points to a bump in the land next to us. “Presumably, there would have been a gate here, and a palisade like fence all the way around,” she cheap canada goose uk says. The other roll of land, just canada goose clearance sale a few feet away? “A guard chamber.” buy canada goose jacket cheap

These features are far from incidental. They canada goose clearance are man made, built around 3,000 to 2,500 years ago.

Canada Goose Parka But nobody knows what these structures, canada goose store dubbed canada goose uk outlet “hillforts”, were used for. Were they for defence, as their name suggests? Settlement? Storing grain? Showing off? Canada Goose Parka

canada goose clearance sale View image Canada Goose Jackets of The Clwyddian Range (Credit: summonedbyfells, CC by 2.0) canada goose clearance sale

canadian goose jacket Take that “guard chamber”. It could indeed have been a place where a military guard stood to protect the enclosure. But it could also have been a shrine: a place for those entering or leaving to pray or give thanks. canadian canada goose outlet goose jacket

In an area that measures some 150 square miles (389 sq km), there are about 30 hillforts

“The language of these things was established in the early 20th Century when we were fighting a lot of wars: canada goose factory sale hillforts, guard chambers,” Gale says, a little ruefully. “We’re stuck with these terms. But I think they Canada Goose Parka were much more complicated than just being military or defensive.”

canada goose clearance Enclosing an area of 21 hectares (51.8 acres), Penycloddiau is the biggest hillfort in northern Wales canada goose clearance

Canada Goose Jackets The wall that surrounds it, now buried beneath dirt, heather and gorse, uk canada goose was some 13ft (4m) thick. Stone faced on the inside and the outside, with a rock cut ditch below and likely with timbers on top, it would have towered an canada goose imposing 33 39ft (10 12m) tall. Canada Goose Jackets

The structure would have been visible for miles. And it would buy canada goose jacket cheap have taken a great deal of work and organisation to build. Canada Goose sale The timber alone needed would have required around 170 hectares (420 acres) of woodland.

canada goose store Yet as extraordinary as it is, Penycloddiau is hardly the only hillfort in this area or in Britain. canada goose store

Canada Goose sale View image of Penycloddiau, as seen from the air (Credit: Fiona Gale) Canada Goose sale

canada goose Similar hilltop enclosures are particularly common in southern England, less so in Wales or Scotland. But this section of Wales is thick with them. In an area that measures some 150 square miles (389 sq km), there are about 30 hillforts. canada goose

It would be very difficult for a group canada goose black friday sale to defend a hillfort

canada goose coats on sale This adds to their mystery. It is a surprising number for a region that, at the time, did not have canada goose coats a particularly dense population. canada goose coats on sale

So why were they built at all?

The name hillfort, of course, suggests the enclosures Canada Goose Online were built for a military purpose. But there cheap Canada Goose are problems with the simplicity of canada goose uk shop this explanation.

Canada Goose online View image of Reconstruction of a Bronze Age village, Wales (Credit: Anthony Morgan/Alamy Stock Photo) Canada Goose online

“It would be canada goose uk black friday very difficult for a group to defend a hillfort, especially one the size of Penycloddiau,” says University of Oxford archaeologist Gary Lock, who is leading an excavation at the nearby Moel y Canada Goose Coats On Sale Gaer hillfort. “How many hundreds and hundreds of people would you need to defend that? Then, at the same time, you need another great group of people attacking it. There Canada Goose online just isn’t that level of population.”

canada goose deals Warfare in small scale societies tends to be heavily ritualised, full of rules and conventions canada goose deals

Canada Goose Outlet There are other flaws with the idea, too. For example, few of the area’s forts have their own water source. Canada Goose Outlet

Meanwhile, hardly any weapons have been found. This is true for weapons of that time in general it is much more common to find weapons from the canada goose coats on sale previous era, the Bronze Age.

One reason might be that, by this period, the preferred weapon seemed to have been slingshot stones. These have been found in hillforts, but generally not in sufficient numbers to suggest a full scale battle.

canada goose coats Still, the idea that an organised Canada Goose Outlet group would bring a cartload of stones up to an enemy hillfort seems a little absurd. canada goose coats

View buy canada goose jacket image of A reconstruction of the Moel Arthur hillfort (Credit: Tim Morgan)

Ian Armit of the University of Bradford has tried to figure out how defensive these hillforts really were, by looking at more recent structures in other cultures.

buy canada goose jacket At the end of the Bronze Age, this elaborate system of wealth and trade collapsed buy canada goose jacket

He has found that warfare in small scale societies tends to be heavily ritualised, full of rules and conventions. Siege warfare “is not something that often happens”, he says. “It’s seen as cowardly or unfair.”

canada goose black friday sale In that context, even a lack of water can be explained. In fact, Armit points out, when Julius Caesar was attacking Iron Age hillforts in Gaul, the Roman general wrote about how his soldiers would attack the enemy when they left their forts to get water canada goose black friday sale.

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