Dig for Iron Age hill fort in Ely, Cardiff

BBC Wales Today's Nick Palit went to view the dig and spoke to Dr Oliver Davis from Cardiff University.

Related Stories

Archaeologists are starting a dig in Cardiff at what is being classed as a significant Iron Age hill fort.

Limited trial excavations at the fort in Ely, next to a link road from the M4 in the west of the city, took place last year.

Evidence of Iron Age pottery was found along with Bronze Age and Roman activity as well as Norman ringwork.

The Norman fort is next to a 13th Century church which is now a fragile ruin.

It is believed the fort was once a stronghold of the powerful Silurian tribe who inhabited this part of Wales before the arrival of the Romans.

Silures Factfile

  • The Silures were a warlike tribe between the 5th Century BC and 2nd or 3rd Century AD
  • This Celtic tribe occupied much of Monmouthshire, Breconshire, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire
  • Resisted the Romans from 48 to around 75 AD
  • Roman sources describe the Silures as having dark skin and curly black hair
  • Some historians believe the Silurian resistance to the Romans gave rise to the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of The Round Table
  • Their name is thought to originate from the common Celtic root 'Silo' which loosely translates as brethren or lineage
  • Neighbouring tribes included the Demetae in south west Wales and the Ordovices in mid Wales, with the Deceangli in north west Wales

Dr Dave Wyatt, a lecturer in early medieval history and community outreach at Cardiff University, is behind the project.

"People have know about it for quite a long time but what's interesting is that no-ones ever thought to research it," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"The Romans in the early days of archaeology always attracted all of the interest and there is in fact a Roman villa near by in Ely in Trelai field which was excavated in the 1920s.

"This enormous hill fort is monumental - it's one of the biggest and most impressive historical sites in Cardiff yet no-one really knows about it.

"There's been no research about it until we started our project about two years ago. Our project is working with archaeologists and the community.

"It's very much a community project... to rediscover and find out about the heritage of this amazing site and to try to put it back on the map."

He added: "The pottery dates to around 600BC so that gives you some kind of idea as to how long this Iron Age hill fort was in occupation before the Romans even showed up.

"It really was a power centre for the whole of south east Wales."

Hillfort at Ely in Cardiff An impression of the Ely hillfort

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.