The hillfort of Pendia is in the proximities of the homonymous locality, in the Asturian council of Bual. It was excavated in 1941 under the direction of D. Antonio García and Bellido and D. Juan Uría Ríu, also responsible for the archaeological excavations that during those years took place in the hill of Cuaña, and was declared Monument on January 26, 1981.

The ruins of the hillfort are located on a small rocky promontory on the side of one of the meanders formed by the river of Pendia, and can be accessed from the village of Pendia, by a narrow path that leaves to the left the defensive pit Which isolated the settlement from the rest of the mountain range.

In addition to the unusual topographic location of this village, there is a disproportion between their powerful fortifications and the small enclosure they protected, which also appear next to a limited set of huts (a dozen), two saunas similar to those discovered in The hillfort of Cuaña. A defensive complex of such magnitude was supposed to respond to the need to secure a vulnerable location for its inhabitants.

During 1999, the two saunas and their environment were re-excavated, both buildings being restored. Since 2003 and until the present, campaigns have been carried out annually in the reservoir during the summer period, in which works are carried out cleaning, excavating and restoring the preserved structures.

Main elements:

Moat and defensive elements: To the left of the way of ascent towards the interior of the hillfort, it is visible the deep moat that isolates the living space of the slope of the hills of Vilanova and avoids a comfortable step on the most vulnerable access. The ditch was filled with the collapses of a great tower that protects and crowns the moat, and with the collapses of the wall that ran all the perimeter of the settlement.

Pre-roman sauna: It is erected to the North, on the entrance to the hillfort, to shelter of the wall. It responds to a constructive type that generalized in the valley of the Navia between centuries IV-II a. C., before the Roman conquest, and had a semicircular oven, a rectangular chamber, and a vestibule, although in this case it has not been preserved. A small reservoir of water between the oven and the main chamber allowed to create the steam necessary to take the baths. From this point we can see the existence of two distinct zones within the village: the northern sector, protected by several defensive elements that isolate the space in which a large hut was located, and the southern zone, where the rest of the constructions.

Great hut: It is a large construction, well protected by several defensive elements, and corresponds to a type of construction that used to occupy important sites in the urbanism of the Asturian hillforts and they have been interpreted traditionally like buildings of communal use.



Spanish to English translation:

Fernán Morán.


1st.- General view of the hillfort of Pendia. Author: José Fdz. Villanueva. Source: Asturian Celtic League (2015).

2nd.- General view of the hillfort of Pendia. Author: José Fdz. Villanueva. Source: Asturian Celtic League (2015).

3rd.-  Pre-roman sauna. Author: Fernán Morán. Source: Asturian Celtic League (2016).

4th.- Ruins of a hut in Pendia hillfort. Author: José Fdz. Villanueva. Source: Asturian Celtic League (2015).


Chao Samartín is a hillfort located in the municipality of Grandas, Asturies. It was founded in the Bronze Age, around the year 800 BCE. The hillfort was discovered in 1977.

The beginnings of this fortified village lay toward the end of the Bronze Age (about 3,000 years ago); the first defenses are from this period, a moat and a palisade that surround a sacred enclosure with an entrance preceded by some large rocks. Inside a building was located that is quite large for its era (some 60 m²).

Already in the Iron Age the inhabited area of the hillfort started to grow considerably. In the 4th century. the defenses existed of a wall and several moats that in their interior contained dwellings of circular and rectangular plan with rounded corners. These dwellings had one room and a roof of plant materials. The only entrance to the village was from the south through a large gate over a moat. The inhabitants were farmers, prepared foods in ceramic pots and pans and used tools of iron, copper, silver and gold, as is shown by the objects that have been found at this location. In this era, the first sauna in this hillfort was built.

With the arrival of the Roman Empire, a period of peace and prosperity began that altered the defensive character of the hillfort because the inhabitants started to take advantage of the fact that nearby several gold mines were found. Their prosperity came to a halt when the settlement was suddenly abandoned after an earthquake taking place toward the 2nd century AD.

Excavation of the hillfort were begun in 1990 and there is still a large part of the village hidden under the soil that has not been studied yet. Investigations showed that the settlement was suddenly abandoned, which is explained by findings of many tools, jewelry and other objects of value that pertain to the Roman Period.


Website of the hillfort and museum of Chao Samartin hillfort.

VILLA VALDÉS, A. (2005): El castro de Chao Samartín. Guía para su interpretación y visita. Ed. Sociedad Arqueológica Profesional. Asturias.

VILLA VALDÉS, A. (2007): “Mil años de poblados fortificados en Asturias (siglos IX a.C.-II d.C.)”, en J.A. Fernández-Tresguerres (Coord.): Astures y romanos: nuevas perspectivas. Oviedo, 27-60.

VILLA VALDÉS, A.& CABO PÉREZ, L. (2003): “Depósito funerario y recinto fortificado de la Edad del Bronce en el castro del Chao Samartín: argumentos para su datación”, en Trabajos de Prehistoria 60, nº 2. Madrid, 143-151.

VILLA VALDÉS, A. (Ed.) (2009): Museo Castro de Chao Samartín. Catálogo. Consejería de Cultura y Turismo del Principado de Asturias y Asociación de Amigos del Parque Histórico del Navia. Oviedo.

Photographs and illustrations:

1st.- Aerial view of the Chao Samartín hillfort. Author: unknown. Source: National Geographic Society.

2nd.- Skull of a girl of about 15 years of age found in an urn inside the Chao Samartin hillfort. Author: unknown. Source: LNE newspaper.

3rd.- Defensive wall of the Chao Samartín hillfort. Author: unknown. Source: website.ideal,es

4th,.- Chao Samartín hillfort. Author: unknown. Source: EVE Museografía.



The hillforts were fortified villages concentrated population of these regions during the centuries before its conquest by Rome (29-19 BC). Under imperial rule kept an important occupation as a result of imperial interest in the gold mines so abundant in the mountains of western Asturies.

The hillfort of Cuaña is the most popular of those hillforts are known in Asturies thanks to its early discovery and large area excavated along almost two hundred years of archaeological work. Like many of the hillforts in the region, it was known from ancient times. Literary references allusion to the ruins and its possible origins date back to the early nineteenth century. Since then there have been sporadic interventions, with varying degrees of success, have helped shape its current appearance and make it the iconographic paradigm fortified settlement of the Iron Age.

The first documented excavations with some rigor were those of José María Flórez in 1877, whose work intervention in twenty long construction and surface recognition of some other follows. Already in this century research is taken up by Antonio García y Bellido and Juan Uría prolonging its activity in Cuaña between 1940 and 1944. In 1959 he is Francisco Jorda who initiates new exploration that will last until 1961 when the site takes on an aspect very similar to the one presented today. In the last two decades, the Principality of Asturies has sponsored various interventions to improve knowledge and quality of the visit to the site.

Since 1993 hillfort has a Interpretation Center which shows the evolution of the Celtic culture from its origin to contact with the Roman world, when the exploitation of gold will play a decisive role in the history of these villages.

The hillfort was built on a small hill and bordered by a thick wall which precedes around its perimeter a pit dug into the rock and now hidden beneath the ruins of the ancient walls. Until recently it was considered that the foundation of the settlement had occurred during the first century AD, already under Roman rule, with precisely the intention of accommodating individuals associated with gold mining. However, recent excavations have shown that their creation is much older, dating back at least to the fourth century BC, that is about 400 years before its conquest by Rome.

Currently you can visit more than 80 fully excavated houses.

The most unique core of the town is undoubtedly the so-called Sacred Precinct. It lies at the foot of the Acropolis on a small terrace that rises above the driveway. The ruins are actually two similar buildings that followed in time characterized by the vaulted roof of one of their cameras, semicircular headers, using ovens, rock-cut channels and a huge tub carved in granite. They are unique buildings forts northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal, Galicia and Asturies) that were interpreted long as crematory ovens. Today its use is supported as saunas for rituals dating back to the fourth century BC although they lasted, with modifications, to the first century AD.

Other attractions are the walls and guard-that flank the entrance to the village, several groups of huts circular floor, oblong and rectangular some of which retain benches and home furnishings as circular mills and stones with pipe bowls, used as mortars and are characteristic of the forts Navia valley.


Angel B. Villa Valdés, former director of the Archaeological Park of the Navia valley


Web of the City council of Cuaña – Asturies

Spanish to English translation:

Fernán Morán.


1st.- Panoramic view of Cuaña hillfort. Source: Asturies official tourism website

2nd.- Panoramic view of Cuaña hillfort. Source: La Nueva España newspaper

3rd.- Panoramic view of Cuaña hillfort. Source: Asturias official tourism website

4th.- Some roundhouses of Cuaña hillfort. Source: siemprenorte.

5th.- Stone mortar in a roundhouse in Cuaña hillfort. Source: saposyprincesas,com