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Llanmelin Wood Hillfort
Hillforts constructed by native Britons, or ‘Celts’, in the Iron Age before the coming of the Romans are thick on the ground in Wales. We don’t know for certain who exactly occupied this site high above the Bristol Channel. Llanmelin may well have been home to inhabitants who moved down to nearby Caerwent, established in around AD 75–80. Venta Silurum (Caerwent) was the ‘market town of the Silures’, a native tribe who became Romanised following the conquest of Britain. It may be no coincidence that Llanmelin seems to have been abandoned in around AD 75.
Excavations have revealed that its inhabitants lived in circular houses made of timber and mud, kept cows, sheep and pigs, used pottery, smelted copper and carved antlers from red deer. Surviving earthworks point to a settlement with three distinct features: a main camp, an adjacent annexe (a series of rectangular enclosures) and an outpost in woodland 275 yards/250m away.