Goldcliff is a multi-period site that has yielded finds from the Mesolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age (as well as Roman and a medieval Benedictine priory).
Prior to the reclamation of the coastal plain from the sea by the Romans in the thrid century AD, Goldcliff was an island (hardly much out of the water though, judging by the contours here).
Gerald of Wales, writing in the 12th century, noted that the name was due to the golden appearance of the cliffs when the sun struck them.
Mesolithic finds include a carbonised hazelnut shell, as well as a tentative identification of the site of a frame used for smoking fish. There were large quantities of fish and animal bones. It is considered that Mesolithic occupation of Goldcliff consisted of a series of transitory hunting camps.
Remains of a sewn plank boat from the later Neolithic or early Bronze Age have been found at Goldcliff.
In the Iron Age, there was a more permanent settlement, including the remains of seven rectangular buildings made from oak planks, dendro-dated 273-271 BC. The remains of 13 Iron Age trackways have also been found at Goldcliff, connecting settlements across the bogs. Cattle appear to have been kept within the Goldcliff settlement.
[Information taken from "Exploring Gwent" by Chris Barber (1984 Regional Publications (Bristol) Limited) and "Prehistoric Wales" by Frances Lynch, Stephen Aldous-Green and Jeffrey L. Davies (2000 Sutton Publishing Limited). The latter book includes a photograph of one of the rectangular Iron Age buildings.]