Porth y Rhaw (translation: port of the shovel or oar) is one of the most impressive yet heavily eroded promontory forts in Pembrokeshire. The fort occupies a relatively inconspicuous position on an extremely craggy and eroded stretch of coastline approximately 1.1km to the west of Solva. Hidden amongst countless other small promontories, crags and coves the site takes advantage of a steep sided natural promontory which has been sculped to produce a series of landward-facing ramparts and ditches. Archaeological surveys and excavations have revealed that Porth y Rhaw was constructed and settled during the early Iron Age – Romano British period (800BC – 400 AD) however evidence suggest that the site was not occupied for the whole of that time. The defences were also remodelled at least five times likely reflecting various changes in the site’s function over the course of its long history.
Why are we working here?
Coastal erosion has had a very noticeable impact upon Porth y Rhaw which has shaped the site over thousands of years. CHERISH is working at the site both to provide objective 3D data for erosion monitoring and to further understand the threated archaeology of the site. Detailed archaeological research has highlighted that visible erosion is by no means a modern phenomenon, with the builders respecting the huge eroded central chasm by building the defences around it. Previous interpretations suggested that the chasm had largely formed after the site was constructed.