ELY ROMAN VILLA

Site Details



NPRN
301355
Map Reference
ST17NW
Grid Reference
ST14727615
Unitary (Local) Authority
Cardiff
Old County
Glamorgan
Community
Caerau
Type of Site
VILLA
Broad Class
Domestic
Period
Roman

Site Description


Ely Roman Villa is a sub-rectangular banked and ditched enclosure, some 56m east-west by 52m, marks the site of an extensive villa complex, excavated in 1894 & 1922.

The complex, at least partly defined by further banks and ditches, extended over an area of about 92m east-west by at least 94m: occupation at the site seems likely to have opened in the 1st century AD, the main house being constructed in the following century;occupation may have lasted to the end of the Roman period, if not beyond.

Source: RCAHMW 1976 (Glamorgan 1.2), 115-118 [762] fig 61.

Geophysical survey has demonstrated that the villa complex was enclosed within a trapezoidal triple-ditched circuit, c.80m N-S by 70-90m (Young 2001 (AW 41), 130-1).

RCAHMW AP955174/41-2
J.Wiles 20.02.04

The villa was partly excavated by J. Storrie in 1894; re-planned, and the evidence re-examined by J. Ward in 1917 then extensively excavated in 1922 by R. E.M. Wheeler.
Wheeler concluded that the initial construction took place in the first half of the 2nd century and that following various changes to the layout, occupation ceased around 325 AD.

The main block was a rectangular house measuring about 21.3 m by 18.3 m with projecting wings on the south which enclosed a small paved and cobbled courtyard. Its walls were of rubble with facings of ashlar and limestone and its roofs of tile.
To the west of the main house was a large yard and to the south west was a second building containing three rooms.

Abundant traces of iron working were found, and in the earlier excavations an actual foundry was discovered. Immediately to the north of the second building was a human skeleton in an east-west position, possibly a Christian burial. Small finds from the excavations include coins, horseshoes, a lead strainer, bronze and bone pins, large quantities of iron slag, bone counters, samian ware and course pottery, some of it repaired with rivets.

Source: RCAHMW., 1976. An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan, Volume I: Pre-Norman, Part II, The Iron Age and Roman Occupation. Cardiff: HMSO 114 – 118

Lorna Leadbetter-Jones, for RCAHMW March 2013

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