LLYS BRYCHAN ROMAN VILLA
Map Reference SN72NW
Grid Reference SN70492545
Unitary (Local) Authority Carmarthenshire
Old County Carmarthenshire
Type of Site VILLA
Broad Class Domestic
Site Description 1. NAR SN72NW5
An opulent Roman villa, set on level ground at the north-west end of a sheltered & enclosed plain in the shadow of Y Garn Goch hillfort (Nprn100866).
The former presence of 'considerable ruins & excavations' were remarked on in the early 19th century & in the middle years of that century Roman remains, possibly including a pavement, were uncovered (TCAS&FC 5 (1909-10), 31, 48; RCAHM 1917 Carmarthen Inventory, 147). Roman remains were again encountered in the course of building work, leading to limited excavations in 1961-2 (Jarrett 1962). Elements of a two-phase, stone-built structure, comprising at least four rooms, were explored. One of the rooms showed traces of a hypocaust, fragments of painted plaster were recorded. Ceramic & Preceli slate roofing tile fragments were recovered, the latter being of two, contrasting types; the limited finds assemblage suggested occupation in the 3rd-4th centuries AD.
Parchmarks were observed & recorded by the farmer at Llys Brychan in the dry summers of 1975 & 76. These indicated that the features explored in 1961-2 lay at the south-west end of a winged building. Two projecting wings, about 5.0m square, frame the north-west front of the 22m north-east to south-west by 9.0m main range. Traces of further structures have been oberserved by the farmer outside the scheduled area. The excavated structures were thought to have abutted a further range to the west, or north-west (JRS 53 (1963), 125).
Source: Jarrett 1962 (Carmarthenshire Ant. 4), 2-8.
2. The Roman villa was the subject of a geophysical survey by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust in 2009, which revealed a polygonal univallate villa enclosure extending to the north of the villa. DAT then carried out trial excavations on the villa enclosure in the winter of 2009 as part of their 'Exploration Tywi!' project (Meek 2011).
T. Driver, RCAHMW 2016.
Meek, J. 2011. Exploration Tywi! Llys Brychan, Bethlehem, Archaeological Evaluation 2009. Dyfed Archaeological Trust Report No. 2010/24, Project Record No. 99390 (unpublished).