Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

South Coast Wales
Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Wales’ South Coast region has the distinction of being home to some of the oldest evidence for human habitation anywhere in the country. Discovered in 1823, the Red Lady of Paviland was the body of a man buried in a cave during the Upper Palaeolithic period. Later Neolithic inhabitants of this region built the tombs at Parc le Breos, Pentre Ifan, and Carreg Coetan Arthur, while an insight into Iron Age life here is today offered at the Castell Henllys reconstructed village. Although the South Coast does not possess as many grand medieval castles as some other parts of Wales, it does have impressive examples like Cilgerran and Carreg Cennen, as well as the ruins of various medieval monasteries, including Strata Florida, Saint Dogmael’s Abbey, and the Haverfordwest Priory. The South Coast is also home to Wales’ second-largest city, Swansea, a port which became a key hub in the copper-smelting industry during the Industrial Revolution. The counties included in the South Coast region are Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Swansea.

Archaeology & History Sites in the South Coast

Carreg Coetan Arthur Burial Chamber

Its name a reference to the legendary King Arthur, who plays an important role in traditional Welsh folklore, Carreg Coetan Arthur is part of a Neolithic burial chamber constructed around 3000 BC. Today it survives as a dolmen, although it is likely that the structure was inside a mound made of earth and perhaps also stone. Archaeologists excavated the site during the 1960s and 1970s, revealing cremated human bone as well as fragments of both Grooved Ware and Beaker Ware prehistoric pottery.

Castell Henllys Iron Age Village

Following over two decades of extensive archaeological excavation, an Iron Age hillfort has been re-constructed as the Castell Henllys Iron Age Village. Drawing on the results of this research, a number of roundhouses and a granary have been built on the foundations of the original Iron Age buildings. Re-enactors presenting themselves as members of the Demetae people help to bring this period of later prehistory to life. The settlement stands on a hill amid the attractive rural environment of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Haverfordwest Priory