With the gradual replacement of bronze with iron tools and weapons, a new era began around 880 BC.
The hill fort at Tan-y-LLan St. Mary Hill dates from this period and even today you can still see evidence of the stone walls along the perimeter.
This would have been a strategic location with clear views across the Vale as well as the Bristol Channel and the Ewenny river, an excellent vantage point to spot invaders.
Like many hill forts, Tan-y- LLan is also near good grazing and arable land – an indication of the importance of agriculture and animal farming.
At this time there was no country called Wales, or England for that matter – rather the whole of the UK was occupied by a number of fiercely independent Brythonic tribes, which is how we became known as Britons. A large proportion of these iron age settlers were Celts who had migrated from northern Europe, and they were generally tall and fair skinned.
In the South East of Wales the native settlers were known as the Silures, who were generally swarthy faced people with dark curly hair.
The Romans thought that they had migrated to these shores from the Iberian peninsula since they closely resembled the population there.
The Silures were fierce fighters and wore red in battle – a tradition carried on today by our national teams although they are battling in a different field!
Evidence of the intense occupation of the Vale by the Silures exists in the abundance of finds unearthed. Middens (dumps of domestic waste) have been unearthed, containing a high density of pig bone, plant remains, pottery, metalwork and human bone. The high density of pig bone suggests a gathering place where communal feasting would take place.