REF case study: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Archeology: Castell Henllys and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Within Pembrokeshire National Park Castell Henllys is a visitor centre that turns the clock back to the Iron Age. The park has been on the archaeological radar since Dr Harold Mytum, the University’s Director of the Centre for Manx Studies, started excavating its grounds in 1982. The project lasted 26 years and included the design and completion of three archaeologically supported, reconstructed roundhouses and one four-post structure.

The archaeological dig was at one point the largest teaching excavation dig in Britain and the discoveries resulted in the complete interior of the fort being excavated. Castell Henllys is the only reconstructed hill fort in Britain to be erected on its original foundations.

The research and reconstructions benefitted Pembrokeshire Coast National Park through integration of the research results into their visitor resources, educational programmes and management plans, developed with guidance from the Castell Henllys project.

Having a historically accurate programme in place is particularly important as The Celts are a feature of the national history curriculum at Key Stage 2. As a result, the Castell Henllys facility has been included as a key part of the history component of the new Curriculum for Wales and is now an important element of their schools visit programme. As such, this previously unvisited site has become a major educational centre and significant local tourist attraction.

The University’s expertise is invaluable when it comes to the experience we give our 30,000 visitors every year – not just for our education programme and visitors, but also for the local economy.

Site Manager, Rhonwen Owen

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