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2. HUT-CIRCLES ASSOCIATED WITH HILL-FORTRESSES.
There are numerous hut-circles in the various hillfortresses of the district. Conway Town Mountain contains at least thirty-four within the ramparts, the greater number with a double line of walling. On Penmaenmawr Mountain they are very numerous and of especial interest, as there is evidence to show that they were of the bee-hive type, similar to those on the South Aran Islands, off the West Coast of Ireland.
In some cases, as on Conway Town Mountain, Allt Wen, and possibly on Penmaenmawr, a hut-circle was placed near the entrance, and might have served as a guard-room.
3. DETACHED HUT-CIRCLES. These are to be found scattered all over the area under review, and a careful search would, in all probability, reveal many more. Descriptions of a few are subjoined.
To the E. of the Aber Waterfall,' on a level space on the mountain side, is a hut-circle 18 feet in diameter; 200 yards to the S. are traces of a larger circle, and at a distance of 400 yards from the waterfall, is a circle with a double wall.
In the Anafon Valley, about half-a-mile below the lake, just below the point where the valley opens out, and where the path descends rather sharply, are several hut-circles, one of which (Fig. 7) is about 12 feet internal diameter, and consists of a very distinct circle
, of stones, eight being about 3 feet 6 inches to 2 feet in height.
About 200 yards from Llangelynin Old Church, down the hill on the E. side of the road, are three good examples of hut-circles, each with a double ring and an entrance facing E. ; their respective diameters are 22 yards, 24 yards and 27 yards.
| Arch. Camb., 1865, p. 137, by J. T. Blight.
The hill slopes of Carreg Fawr, Llanfairfechan, facing Dinas, show many traces of enclosures, and in a field, about 200 yards S.E. of Ty'n rhedyn, and S.W. of Rhyd Deuryd, between the 700 feet and 800 feet contour lines, is a group of about 10 hut-circles, with indications of an encircling wall. They vary in diameter from 18 feet to 25 feet, and the hut-walls are about 6 feet thick.
In concluding this account of the hut-circles and hut-circle villages of this district, a question arises as to their date. Some writers are of opinion that many of the huts are not pre-Roman, but it must be remembered that the advancement of civilisation in Wales was brought about by the influence of successive immigrations of more cultured peoples than by home initial development.
No one doubts that the hut-circles still existing
belong to different periods, judging by the character of their construction and by the excavated “finds.” Authorities fairly agree that the stone-built huts are the latest, and the methods of construction of the huts on Penmaenmawr Mountain and Tre'r Ceiri show a distinct advance upon the hut-circles found on the other upland districts of Carnarvonshire. An exceedingly interesting example of works of different dates on practically the same site may be studied on the property of Lord Boston at Penrhos Lligwy, Anglesey. Dr. Windle, F.R.S., says, “Hut-circles ... are the remains of habitations occupied, we can now say
with certainty, in the Neolithic period,” views that are confirmed by the researches of Mr. Church, Dr. Colley March, and Professor Boyd Dawkins, F.R.S. Mr. G. A. Humphreys, F.R.I.B.A., is of opinion that “practically all the important camps about here have probably been used for centuries B.c. down to Romano-British times, and were altered and improved from time to time by the successive peoples who occupied them, according to their requirements and stage of culture.
The result is that we have on the same hill-tops very early hut-dwellings, etc., in close proximity to very late dwellings.
1 Prehistoric Remains, p. 256.
ROMAN ROADS IN NORTH WALES
BY WM. B. HALHED.
The Roman road from Deva (Chester) við Varae of Antonine's Itinerary to Kanovium on the River Conwy, and thence to Segontium, has not hitherto, with the exception of the portion near to Chester, been systematically worked out.
In various maps, drawn to show ascertained roads in Britain, different courses are given of that one leading from Deva into North Wales. Mr. T. Codrington (Roman Roads in Great Britain, pp. 87, 88) cites Mr. Shrubsole's view that the line lay viâ Hawarden to Flint, and “thence by a doubtful course
course" to Caerwys, where he places Varae. His suggestion commands consideration, for the route has been carefully worked out to fit in with the length of journey set forth in the Itinerary of Antoninus, but the lines are very devious. He also assumes that Caerwys may be converted into Varae, a matter only for etymologists to determine. The Rev. George Herbert (p. 392) suggested a different way, and onwards to St. Asaph, proceeding thence via Bettws yn Rhos and Gofer, on highland to the Conwy River. assuming that the Hawarden-Flint route was for commercial purposes only, i.e., minerals, and the Romans assuredly made many roads, an alternative road viâ Mold to Denbigh, and continuing vid Llansannan and Llangerniew to the Conwy seems the most direct course for military service, while it has the advantage of an easier alignment, and if in the past bog-land intervened, as Mr. Shrubsole avers, in opposing such a route, that character of obstruction Roman engineers were capable of dealing with, and did
Arch. Camb., 1892, p. 257.
BIH SER, VOL. XII.
so in other parts of Britain. The Ordnance Map shows that this line draws out nearly straight as physical conditions permitted according to Roman plan to their objective, à fordable point on the river near to Kanovium. Mr. Herbert's track is more circuitous, and ends at Tal y Cafn, where the Conwy is not fordable.
On the Llangerniew to Kanovium track, shown in the accompanying map, reduced from the Ordnance 6 in. survey, a peculiar feature is the Ffordd Las (Green road) (10) running absolutely straight for 3 to 3.1 miles to the summit, Pen y Mynydd. That track could only have been laid out for a definite purpose, needful at the time. Now it is in entire disuse, and has been so for a very lengthened period, perhaps ever since the Roman occupation ceased. As will be shown, there is some evidence of its having been an old road possibly of Roman structure.
This preliminary statement is needed for a comprehension of the details now to follow, and of the general puzzle presented to investigators into the matter of Roman "highways and trackways to and in North Wales. In the total absence at present of exact knowledge as to whereabouts in the Vale of Clwyd Varae was situated, the difficulties presented are considerable. It is only by patient walking of long distances, and careful observation, together with judicious use of pick and spade, that any certainty can be arrived at.
The Nant Conwy Antiquarian Society has collected many details relating to Roman roads and tracks during the past ten years since its inauguration, and three members, Messrs. Willoughby Gardner, W. B. Halhed, and Rev. T. Roberts, R.N., undertook a preliminary task of working out a first section, the Conwy River to Llangerniew, with the direct cooperation of Lord Aberconway, and his son the Hon. H. McLaren, M.P. The examinations made were all on the Bodnant property; a generous supply of