Hen Caerwys is traditionally regarded as a deserted medieval village, but is perhaps better described as a fragment of a fossilised landscape scattered with complex features of settlement, agriculture and industry of potentially many different periods.
The remains of banks, walls and house platforms within the woodlands of Coed y Marian and Coed Gerddi-gleision were first reported by W.J. Hemp in 1960. Hemp, in consultation with the historian Canon Ellis Davies, named them Hen Caerwys — assuming them to be a precursor to the nearby medieval town.
The present excavations by Cadw, the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust and local volunteers are revisiting 1960s excavations in order to gain a better understanding of this enigmatic site.
Combined with ongoing documentary research, this will hopefully re-establish Hen Caerwys as a key monument in the study of medieval settlement in north Wales.
Find out more about this fascinating site on the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust blog.