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Gower

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Vol. 13, 1960

A recently discovered Earthwork

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A Recently Discovered Earthwork
by BERNARD MORRIS.
A YEAR AGO Gower described the rediscovery of a forgotten
Iron Age earthwork overlooking the Llwchwr Estuary at Penclawdd
following the use of Eighteenth Century documentary evidence
in conjunction with modem air photographs. Further work using
similar methods has led to the identification of yet another earthwork
in the same locality this time near Cil Onnen farm, on the North
Gower ridge. (National Grid Reference 547938).
The site stands at the top of the gentle slope from the ridge
to the valley of the Morlais river and appears to have consisted
of a single bank and ditch surrounding an oval area approximately
220 feet long and 150 feet broad, the longer axis lying at right
angles to the slope. There appears to have been a simple entrance
in the lower side of the enclosure.
The first clue to the earthwork's existence was obtained from
the 1784 Penrice Estate map of the area, which may be seen at the
Glamorgan County Record Office at Cardiff.
This map gives the name of one of the fields to the north of
Cil Onnen as Pen y Gare," (Pen-y-gaer). There was no known
gaer in this area according to modern records, but a careful
examination of Air Ministry photographs revealed the existence
of the ancient earth work.
The site was subsequently visited and was found to have been
extensively ploughed even since the air photograph was taken
in 1946. Fortunately sufficient of the upper part of the bank and
ditch remained to confirm the identification of yet another Gower
earthwork. The site cannot be definately dated without excavation
but it is of a type common enough in the Iron Age in Wales, that
is about 2,000 years ago. Its purpose was probably the protection
of cattle rather than that of a fortress in the accepted sense.
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