Prehistoric

Pembrokeshire is rich in prehistoric archaeology, with evidence of activity spanning the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age) to the Iron Age, and every period in between.

The southern half of the county is mostly lowland, while in the north the Mynydd Preseli rise to 536m above sea level on Foel Cwmcerwyn. This contrast is reflected in the usage of the land in prehistory. Palaeolithic and Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) scatters of flint tools and temporary camps tend to have a lowland, often coastal distribution. This is also true for discoveries of Neolithic (New Stone Age) stone tools and the locations of chambered tombs (cromlechs). The standing stones and burial mounds of the Bronze Age however were often more visibly located on the upland slopes and summits. Very little is known of Bronze Age settlements in the county but a number of burnt stone mounds may indicate their locations.
In complete contrast with the earlier periods the surviving archaeology of the Iron Age represents a settled landscape of inland hillforts, enclosed farmsteads and coastal promontory forts. All of these types of site were defended with earthen banks and ditches. And whereas ritual and funerary evidence from the Neolithic and Bronze Age survives in abundance, this aspect of life in the Iron Age is represented by a single cremation burial.

Date ranges
Palaeolithic: 225,000 – 10,000BC
Mesolithic: 10,000 – 4,400BC
Neolithic: 4,400 – 2,300BC
Bronze Age: 2,300 – 700BC
Iron Age: 700BC – AD43 (Roman invasion of Britain)