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Remains of small medieval castle unearthed in NW Wales


Archaeologists have confirmed the discovery of a small medieval castle, likely belonging to a local Welsh lord, near Caernarfon.

Remains of small medieval castle unearthed in NW Wales
Excavations of the Hen Gastell - Old Castle site in Gwynedd 
[Credit: Gwynedd Archaeological Trust]
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust teams, who spent more than two years carefully excavating and analysing the Hen Gastell (Old Castle) site in Llanwnda, said the small castle was occupied in the 11th or 12th centuries by “someone of significance.”

The experts have announced their final conclusions after receiving specialist reports back on their findings and confirmation of a further 10 radiocarbon dates.

Site director Jane Kenney said: “The old people who named this site were right, as usual, and this was a type of small medieval castle, perhaps more like a manor house than a real castle.

Remains of small medieval castle unearthed in NW Wales
Decorative strap and studs and iron knife found at the site 
[Credit: Gwynedd Archaeological Trust]
 “It was occupied in the 11th or 12th centuries AD by someone of significance who could afford to hire a blacksmith to make the knives and nails and other small items that the house needed.”

Among the findings made alongside the site’s main building were a possible timber tower or a rectangular hall.

The site’s owner could afford fancy bronze or brass decorations on his belt or horse harness, and perhaps a touch of gold - even if it was only really gilt.

Remains of small medieval castle unearthed in NW Wales
Plan of the Hen Gastell - Old Castle site in Gwynedd 
[Credit: Gwynedd Archaeological Trust]
“The house was occupied for no more than about four generations, perhaps much less, and then abandoned,” Ms Kay said.

“Some of the posts of the house were pulled out, possibly to be reused, but others left to rot. The site was then forgotten until, may be in the 16th or 17th century, a small farmhouse was built in the infilled ditch.

“This was replaced by the current farmhouse. The pits with slag in the middle of the excavation trench were remains of a blacksmithy and dated from the same time as the building, so the smith must have been working inside the building.”

video
An animation of a 3D model of the site created by combining a large number of photographs. 
A computer program identifies 3 dimensional points by comparing the photographs 
and creates the model [Credit: Gwynedd Archaeological Trust]

The team will now produce a final report for publication and get professional artefact drawings done, however the conclusions they have already made are final.

The findings have been published by the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust.

Author: Mike Williams | Source: North Wales Chronicle [May 21, 2016]
TANN

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