Castell Henllys in Its Temporal, Cultural, and Intellectual Contexts [chapter]

Harold Mytum
2013 Monumentality in Later Prehistory  
Castell Henllys is an inland promontory style of hillfort located in West Wales, on the western edge of Britain, in a landscape with large numbers of known enclosed later prehistoric settlements. The hillfort settlement was constructed in the middle Iron Age, c. 400 bc , and in the fi rst or second century bc it was abandoned and a smaller settlement established in its annexe area, before a brief reoccupation of the promontory in the late Roman or post-Roman (fourth or fi fth century ad ) and
more » ... en abandonment. Castell Henllys became important again in the late twentieth century as an archaeological site, with a long and complex excavation biography, and as a heritage attraction and educational resource. The writing of a large excavation report is an experience that combines hard work with confusion, consternation, elation, frustration, and intellectual gymnastics. Many types of fi eld record-written, drawn, and photographic-are drawn together, though they have been created by a vast array of different individuals over many seasons. The aims, assumptions, and experiences of those involved in the project in the fi eld, and subsequent analysis, all affect the development of the archive and the types of questions asked and answers that are revealed. Memories and old interpretations that fi tted the partial evidence at one stage of the excavations have to be tempered with the more recent discoveries and the re-evaluation of stratigraphy, spatial patterning, and assumptions about the Iron Age that have been coloured by changing intellectual environment in this case over a quarter of a century. Nevertheless, the site itself provides, through its form and content, important constraints as to the types of evidence available to the researcher. Whilst the patterning of the data are in part due to fi eld and analytical methodologies, an explicit statement of these can aid the author and others in their assessment of the results and future reinterpretation of the data. This chapter provides a series of introductory sections that help to de fi ne the site under discussion and its physical, cultural, and intellectual context. The changing approaches to the fi eldwork are explained, and the constraints on the data caused by natural and cultural factors in the past and present are outlined. There is at present much discussion and experiment in conduct of archaeological fi eldwork and the production of archaeological reports (Barrett et al. 2000 ; Hodder 2000 ; Mytum 2012a ) , and the ambitions and role of this volume are explicitly discussed in the last part of the chapter. The following chapters describe and discuss the physical evidence for the earliest, palisaded settlement and the subsequent earthworks at the site under a series of topic headings. Here the detailed stratigraphic and spatial data are outlined, and the constraints and possibilities for interpretation set out. In places interpretation may be limited, in others a variety of possible options can be set out, with the evidence for and against each alternative. Where one possibility seems much stronger than the others this is made clear; multivocality (by the same author) is allowed but not encouraged to the point of avoiding responsibility for interpretation. As the person so long involved in working and thinking
doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-8027-3_2 fatcat:dwstzk6jsnhv3ohxyjhrmd4pii