Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Archaeology Travel guide Wales

The archaeology of Wales has produced some of the most important evidence for the study of early hominins in Europe; including the most westerly remains of Neanderthals that date to 230,000 years ago, and the oldest ceremonial burial of about 29,000 years. Artefacts and features of later periods of prehistory, from Neolithic megalithic monuments to beautifully crafted Iron Age objects, are just as significant. A study of these prehistoric periods reveals a region populated with communities with a developed a distinct cultural identity that had strong links with neighbouring areas. From Neolithic mortuary monuments and Iron Age hill forts, to Roman forts and castles and abbeys of the Medieval, the archaeology of Wales adds much to our understanding of the history of north-western Europe.

Reasons to Visit Wales



Industrial Heritage,

… and Mountains & Coastal Paths.

Interesting Things to Know About Wales

One of the earliest known inhabitants of Wales is called the Red Lady of Paviland. This body was discovered in a cave in Gower in 1823, at which point it was interpreted as being that of a Roman woman. More modern investigation has revealed it is actually the remains of a man, covered in red ochre and then interred here around 33,000 years ago.
The land now encompassing Wales represented the most westerly boundary of the Roman Empire. In the Iron Age, this region was divided among different groups speaking the Brythonic language, but all were conquered by Rome in the first century AD. The remains of many Roman forts can still be found in Wales, including Segontium, Caerleon, and Brecon Gaer.

Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world. This is a legacy of the High Middle Ages, when England’s monarchs sought to conquer and subdue the largely independent Welsh kingdoms. Several of these stone fortifications, including Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, and Beaumaris Castle, are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

National origins are always complex, but Wales’ identity as a distinct country is often traced to 1536. This was the year when King Henry VIII, who was of Welsh ancestry, passed laws that recognised Wales and England as distinct territories under his legal jurisdiction. The establishment of a self-governing Welsh parliament would have to wait until 1999.
Wales is also home to the world’s first suspension bridge, connecting the island of Anglesey to the mainland. The Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford designed this marvel, with work starting in 1819 and finishing in 1826. Build from limestone and iron, the Menai Bridge has remained in use ever since, although was joined by the nearby Britannia Bridge in 1850.

Find Places to Visit in Wales

Is Cadw Membership Worth it?

From the Roman amphitheatre in Caerleon to the medieval castle at Beaumaris, many of Wales’ most important heritage sites are managed by an organisation called Cadw. While many of the 130 archaeological and historical sites in Cadw’s care are open to the public free of charge, some do charge an entry fee – a fee that is waived for Cadw members. But is Cadw membership worth it? In this article I look closely at what membership provides to help you decide if Cadw membership is right for you.


Five Popular Attractions in Wales

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Roman Caerleon

Norman Keep Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Tintern Abbey Wales

Tintern Abbey

View of St Davids cathedral in South Wales

St David’s Cathedral

Lock with an approaching narrowboat on the LLangollen Canal in Shropshire, UK

Llangollen Canal

Explore Wales more deeply

Where to Go in Wales

South Coast

Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Swansea.

South Valleys

Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Neath Port Talbot.

Welsh Borders

Powys and Monmouthshire.

North Wales

Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.

What to See in Wales

Prehistoric Burial Chambers & Megaliths

Roman Ruins & Museums

Abbeys & Monasteries

Of the three countries that make up Great Britain, it is Wales that probably has the longest history of uninterrupted Christian practice, one that stretches from the era of the Roman Empire right through to the present day. During the Middle Ages, Wales was home to a rich monastic tradition and while this was stamped out during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, many ruined religious houses survive as important reminders of Wales’ medieval heritage.