Archaeological sites in the Geopark

Anglesey boasts 52 Scheduled Ancient Monuments out of the total of 121 for the whole of  Wales in the care of CADW the statutory body looking after archaeological sites in the Geopark.

  • several Neolithic settlements [cyttiau gwddaelod or ‘Irishman’s huts] – eg South Stack, Porth Dafarch
  • many burial chambers, the most famous being Barcloddiad y Gawres near Porth Trecastell and Bryn Celli Ddu
  • innumerable standing stones – especially those at Penrhos Feilw featured in our logo
  • Iron Age settlements including Din Lligwy, Din Silwy
  • Mynydd Twr [Holyhead Mountain]Iron age hill fort
  • Caer Gybi – Roman fort
  • Mynydd Twr [Holyhead Mountain] – Roman signal station / lighthouse
  • Norman castle – Aberlleiniog
  • Edwardian castle (World heritage site) – Beaumaris
  • medieval monastery – Penmon
  • Hafotty medieval manor house reputedly linked to Henry VIII

Gwynedd Archaeological Trust is the body responsible for rescue archaeology and other excavations on Anglesey.Their website offers lots of reports on sites, landscapes and other studies.

Holyhead Mountain Hut Group is a farming community originally thought to date from the times of the Roman occupation of Wales but they are in fact much older, reaching back to prehistoric times. What we see before us are the remains of a sizeable agricultural settlement in use for many generations. Around 20 of an estimated 50 original buildings survive, mostly as circular hut foundations. Check out CADW’s 3600 reconstruction of how people may have worked the land. As a bonus to visitors, there’s a spectacular mountainside setting with far-reaching sea views.

Caer Twr, perched at the summit of Holyhead Mountain with amazing views in all directions over Anglesey (and sometimes to Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Lake District), this Iron Age hill fort has rampart walls 10ft/3m high and 14ft/4m thick in places, constructed from large blocks of Holyhead quartzite merging with the mountain’s rocky terrain to create what must have been an imposing fortification. The only structure found inside is the ruin of a later Roman watchtower and signal station.

Caer Gybi This 3rd century Roman fort sits in the centre of Holyhead, situated on low cliffs of new Harbour green schist overlooking the sea suggesting it was part of a coastal network of defences, possibly linked to the late Roman watchtower at Caer y Twr on the summit of Holyhead Mountain. The walls of this rectangular fort are extremely well-preserved, standing up to 13ft/4m high and 5ft/1.5m thick. You can also see remains of four corner towers. At its centre is the parish church of with its own interesting building stone geology.

Barclodiad y Gawres (‘The Giantess’s Apronful’ in English) gives a revealing glimpse into the lives of our ancient ancestors. Perched in a spectacular cliffside location on a promontory of New Harbour green schist, the earthen mound is a modern reconstruction, but beneath lies a passageway leading to a cross-shaped chamber that houses the tomb’s most exciting treasures. Take a virtual tour to see a series of stones with five etched with intricate patterns of zig-zags and spirals, which hint at the site’s significance for Anglesey’s early inhabitants.

While similar carvings have been found at Neolithic (New Stone Age) sites in Ireland, the only other tomb in the UK with examples of such megalithic art is a few miles away at Bryn Celli Ddu (the ‘Mound in the Dark Grove’ in English) is actually two sites in one. In the early Neolithic (New Stone Age) period, a henge (bank and ditch) enclosing a circle of stones was built here, to be replaced later by a chambered tomb beneath a mound. Inside, a long, narrow passage leads to an octagonal chamber. The carved pillar at the centre is the very rare glaucophane [‘blue’] schist which occurs only in this part of Anglesey. Take a virtual tour.

Din Lligwy Settlement Covering an area of more than a quarter of a football pitch, this fascinating ancient village features the remains of two round huts and several rectangular buildings encircled by a thick stone wall. The whole village is constructed of large blocks [clints] of limestone, [originally the area was a large limestone pavement] some stacked up to build substantial walls, others upended to make boundary walls. Artifacts date the settlement to the late Roman period in the 3rd and 4th centuries, though traces of structures outside the enclosure suggest the site may have been in use since the Iron Age. Find a virtual tour here

Back to Top

Translate »