Archaeological Excavations, Llwyn Bleddyn Road, Rachub

Gwynedd Archaeological Trust is carrying out an excavation on Llwyn Bleddyn Road, Rachub, in advance of a development for social housing. The excavation is funded by Adra.

Site aerial photography


See annotated site aerial photograph, above, which corresponds with numbered text, below.


1. Remains of two field boundaries were found in the western part of the site. These may be Iron Age in origin and related to the roundhouses found nearby (see later). There are many roundhouse settlements known around Rachub and in the Iron Age and Roman period the whole area would have been covered by small fields between the settlements.

Remains of an ancient field boundary


Extract from a Penrhyn Estate map dating to 1855

2 and 3. Penrhyn Estate maps show a farm called Cefn Bedw, occupied into the mid 19th century. The excavation found the farmhouse near the road and outbuildings behind. The farmhouse had a hearth and oven at one end and drains under the floor. A track led from the road to a yard behind the outbuildings.

Remains of Cefn Bedw farmhouse with the foundation of one wall surviving. The hearth is at the far end


4. Immediately under the floor of the farmhouse were numerous pits, a hearth and an oven or corn dryer dating to the Roman period. This probably represents a building built and used by local people.

Corn dryer or oven with slate lining in one end. Roman pottery was found in this


5. There may be a Roman period building here (see question mark in image, below). Roman pottery has been found and there are hearths and slate slabs and plenty of stone, but more excavation is needed to find out what is here.

There may be a Roman period building here

6. Two roundhouses were found. Their remains overlap and one was used and demolished before the other was built. The latest roundhouse seems to have burnt down and was used into the Roman period but the earlier one was built in the Iron Age. These roundhouses were probably used between about 500 BC and 100 AD but we will get radiocarbon dates to find out. These roundhouses had timber walls and would have had tall conical roofs.

Overlapping roundhouses (the one on the right is the earliest).
They are defined by slots for the walls and have many postholes and other features inside

7. Inside the earlier roundhouse was a furnace probably for smelting iron.

Iron Age furnace filled with waste from smelting

8. The eastern end of the site is wet and low-lying and we had no idea what might be found there. When the peat was removed it could be seen that there were the remains of substantial walls. One wall encloses this entire area and another may have formed a small pen for animals. When we started cleaning the area up we realised that there was also a stone-walled roundhouse and there may be other buildings.


Foundations of a stone-walled roundhouse, within a defensive enclosure


Ysgol Llanllechid visits


Adra, a provider of quality, affordable homes are intending to build houses at the site to meet local housing needs.



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