Celtic Houses. Henllys fort Pembrookshire
Beware of the celtic headhunters
The British Celts lived in roundhouses. We know this from the archaeological remains that have been excavated and dated to the Iron Age. The size of the roundhouses can be seen from the rain ditches which surround the houses. From those ditches we know that some of the roundhouses in the hill fort were quite big and that there was room for a lot of people inside.
Reconstructed Iron Age roundhouses at Castell Henllys.
The archaeological record for these roundhouses is incomplete due to the decomposition of organic materials and the removal and reuse of their contents elsewhere. However, Castell Henllys Iron Age Hill Fort probably provides the most authentic reconstruction of Iron Age roundhouses in Britain.
The structure and materials used
The roundhouses at Castell Henllys have been reconstructed using the archaeological evidence found at the site. Each of the upright poles which support the roof of the roundhouse have been placed into the original post holes.
Wattle and daub walls - whitewashed and painted.
Archaeologists discovered that the walls of the houses were made of wattle and daub. The wattle walls were made by weaving a fence of pliable hazel or willow sticks into an extremely strong circular structure. The daub was made of a mixture of clay, straw and animal dung. The straw and dung help to stop the clay from cracking and falling away. The daubed walls were very good at keeping the heat in and the wind out. Lime-washed walls helped to create a better appearance and make the houses a little lighter.
Heating, lighting, cooking
It is quite dark inside the roundhouses with most of the light coming from the doorway during the day. In the centre of the roundhouses there were fireplaces. At night the flames from the fire provide some light but you still needed to get additional lighting from rush lights if you wanted to see things more clearly. It is more practical to use the daylight and get up at sunrise.
Inside a roundhouse displayed as a central cookhouse.
The fire would also have been used for cooking. There is evidence of a saddle quern-stone, which would have been used to grind corn* to make bread. There may have been an oven somewhere in the roundhouse (pictured - right)*. Sometimes food was cooked on hot stones placed next to the fire and it is quite likely that a cauldron would only have been used in one of the houses for communal cooking as it would have been a very costly item. A firedog may have been used to roast meat over the open fire.
More about Daily life
We guess that these were the homes of the warriors and their families and that the biggest house would have belonged to the Chief. It is thought that the peasants probably lived in hovels outside the walls of the fort although there has been little excavation to prove this.
I believe they have captured the domesticated pig of that era