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Stop 16: (1330 m) Great Castle Head – SM 799 056
Great Castle Head is the site of another Iron Age fort, dating from the early to mid first millennium BC. From the path, two defensive banks and ditches can be seen. These would have offered protection from the landward side. As with the Iron Age fort at Dale Point, the occupants would have lived on the seaward side of the banks and farmed the land outside defences.
The fort was excavated by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust in 1999. They reported that although the banks and ditches survive in a reasonable condition, a massive landslip has lowered the land surface on the southern side by many metres, and within the defences only a small portion remains of what would have been the residential area. The excavation found post-holes and pits, and other artefacts such as prehistoric pottery, but no remaining signs of roundhouses. Later Roman and 12th – 13th century pottery was also discovered, suggesting that the fort was remodelled in medieval times.
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During World War Two the Head mounted an anti-aircraft and searchlight battery, but few traces remain of this today.
At low tide in Castle Bay a present-day wave-cut platform can be seen. This a modern example produced by the same erosion process that resulted in the flat topography of much of the Dale peninsula (see Stops 8 and 15).