To some of the people of Llanelli, the town only has an industrial history but it is interesting to note that the heritage of the town is varied and colourful. From early man, the Iron Age, the Romans, through to that misty period in British history once called the Dark Ages and the coming of the invading Normans, there has been some evidence of occupation. In this article Llanelli Community Heritage looks at the town during the Iron Age.
There is evidence that an Iron Age farm enclosure once stood near Cencoed Uchaf Farm, Cwmbach, in a field called Caer Glas. On older maps it is called ‘Caer Bach’ (small fort) and may have been established during the Iron Age, about 250BC. It consists of an oval earthwork enclosing an area of about 600 square metres which would have had a wooden palisade, a gate and a number of round huts.
There are other Welsh place names in Llanelli, which suggest an Iron Age origin e.g. Bryn Caerau (Parc Howard) and Pen-y-Gaer, Llanerch. On the hill above Stradey Estate there is another large farm enclosure, which shows that there were a number of sites occupied in Llanelli during this period.
The tribes of this area would have cultivated the land as well as raising stock. In their fields crops of turnips, cabbage, parsnip and grain would have been grown. Grain was usually stored in structures elevated by four posts to protect the stored grain from damp and vermin. Usually the farmer could only grow enough to feed his family and pay his taxes, which were often collected in kind.
Some farmers may have had carts, which would have been pulled by oxen and not horses. The Celts also hunted wild boar for the pot. Hunting dogs would have been needed to track down wild animals. Spears were the usual weapons used when hunting boar. There are probably more Iron Age sites in and around Llanelli yet to be discovered and identified.
A model of the Cencoed Uchaf Iron Age Farm at can be seen at Parc Howard Museum.