The area around Gelligaer has been attractive to humans for millennia because of the rich resources, fertile land and the strategic position. The hilltops of south Wales have evidence of occupation stretching back 4000 years – when Bronze Age settlers would have farmed the land. Carn Bugail, on a high ridge of Gelligaer Common, shows that these people were a spiritual people, as this is a burial site for their leaders.
About 500 years later, a new group of people called Gelligaer home – the Beaker folk, named after their distinctive pottery vessels which have been found in tombs and around Gelligaer village.
Whilst there are no Iron Age hillforts locally, it is believed that the area continued as a farming area, although the worsening weather probably meant that the hills were only used in the summer. The Iron Age people in this area were the Silure, considered to be the most fierce of all the tribes – and excellent horsemen who used chariots in battle and who were notorious for using guerrilla tactics to attach their enemies. To discover more about the Silure pick up a copy of “ Searching for the Silures: The Iron Age in South-East Wales” by Raymond Howell.
These websites can help you discover more about the early history of Gelligaer: