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Roundhouses & Hilltop Forts Illustration

Ancient Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man
Roundhouses &
Hilltop Forts

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Each fine had several buildings that they shared. One building called a roundhouse was a big home made of straw and mud. This is where the members of a fine slept and sheltered from the elements.

The Celts did not have chairs or furniture other than a scattering of low tables. They slept on furs or mats. They sat on the floor. The biggest piece of furniture in each home would be the large looms where fabrics were woven all winter long.

They also built outbuildings that they used to cook food, tan leather, store food, and shelter their animals. Again, these outbuildings were shared by everyone in the fine. Sometimes, these buildings were shared by several fines. These were farming communities. But that's about as big as a single "village" grew. The ancient Celts did not build cities. It was not their way.

Each homestead (group of buildings) was surrounded by the fields in which they grew crops. Beyond that, at the edge of their boundary, the fine built a short wall made of rocks. This wall was used to define the fields that belonged to the fine, and also acted as some protection from attack.

In times of attack from another Celtic tribe, or from the ancient Romans, the fine retreated to a hill fort, which was built on top of a hill. It was surrounded by enclosure of stakes.

Hill forts were huge things that could hold everyone in the village in times of attack. There were huts and cattle enclosures standing ready at all times. But unless the fine was under attack, they stood empty, waiting until they were needed. The Celts did not like to live closely together. The hill fort was considered a temporary retreat.

Build a hill fort

How to build a roundhouse