Connections between the hillforts of the Clwydian Range and the wider landscape

Electronic versions


  • Erin Lloyd Jones

    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Archaeology, North Wales, Prehistory, Landscape, Marches, GIS, Visibility


This study examines the characteristics and setting of the six hillforts of the Clwydian Range in north east Wales and considers other hills and hillforts within the surrounding area. It provides an assessment of the hillforts of much of north Wales and the borderlands as a group, to define connections or regional variations, in order to aid understanding of their function.
Sites have been investigated through the use of Geographical Information Systems and viewshed analysis to consider the extent of view, the features visible and intervisibility. The use of a control sample of non-hillfort sites considers why some hills were chosen to be hillforts but others not. Interrogation of the data to identify what the monument can see, not just how much, is fundamental in the interpretation of site selection and position.
Architectural features and dating evidence have been documented and examined. Former radiocarbon dating has been scrutinised and recalibrated to ensure consistency. A theme of stone, or the illusion of, is dominant across the study area and, despite previous reports, not limited to Gwynedd and a small number of outliers. Entrances and their evolution are distinctive to north east Wales and the borders, with possible links to northern England.
The hillforts of the Clwydian Range are distinctive with regards to their proximity and longevity, with multi-phase, multi-period use. In contrast to ‘Central Place Theory’, there is not an obvious ‘main’ hillfort dominating or suppressing the others. Instead, awareness of each other may have complimented their situation and therefore the area flourished. Changes in the hillforts’ characteristics are essential in understanding the evolution of their function throughout the Iron Age; from initial community links and cultivation, to control and finally to conservation, which is a tradition which has continued to this day.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date18 Feb 2019