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Site Details

NPRN 410589

Map Reference ST59NW

Grid Reference ST5276697583

Unitary (Local) Authority Monmouthshire

Old County Monmouthshire

Community St Arvans



Period Roman

Site Description 1. Wyndcliff Roman Site comprises a negative cropmark showing the remains of a villa complex. Remains on the ground were recorded in the late nineteenth century, but these are no longer visible. Results from a geophysical survey indicate a stone-built rectangular building enclosed on the north and west sides by a ditch. The cropmark shows evidence of internal divisions, including a corridor on the east side and a range of rooms, together with a range of associated external features.
Source: Cadw scheduling description. F.Foster/RCAHMW 22.04.2010

2. Summary from GGAT HER:
Remains on ground reported as 'double walls...with a distance of about 5 ft between them, extend[ing] 70 yards' to where is disappeared in dense undergrowth'. At the bottom of the western slopes of the hill between an old limekiln and the path which leads through the Woods from St Arvans to the summit of the Wyndcliff is seen the unmistakable fragment of a stone rampart of different construction to those above; as this one is a single wall 7 or 8 yards wide.' APs show a possible rectilinear structure or enclosure. Finds include stone finial similar to that from Llantwit Major. (Nash Williams 1928, 266). More recently a series of metal detector finds have been made, including part of a bronze statue (Trett and Hudson 1993). Boon (1973, 44) surmised that this site was a temple, probably because of the location on a waterless hilltop. (Evans 2001)

Sources :
Evans, E M , 2001 , Romano-British southeast Wales settlement survey: Final report
Cadw , New Entry to the Schedule of Monuments
01/Mm AP Gazeteer/2004 January/Sorrell John/Aerial Archaeological Photographs of Gwent/SMR
02/Desc Text/Cadw/ancient monuments and archaeological areas act/2009/copy in further information file
Boon, G C, 1973, An illustrated guide to the ancient monuments of Wales 4: The Roman occupation
Nash-Williams, V E, 1928, Topographical list of Roman remains found in South Wales, Bull Board Celtic Stud 4, 246-71
Trett, B and Hudson R, 1993, Newport Museum, enquiries, Archaeol Wales 23, 62
Anon, 1893, Archaeol Cambrensis 5 ser 10, 340-1

3. Site of a high-status Roman stone building or temple, the latter postulated by Boon in 1973 due to its location on a waterless hilltop (GGAT HER, PRN 00764g). Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance on 22nd July 2013 (AP_2013_4335-4347) under drought conditions revealed extensive parchmarks clarifying details of the complex as a whole. This information builds on evidence recorded on recorded on private aerial photographs taken by John Sorrell in 1997 and reported to GGAT HER.

The plan of the scheduled Roman building is clearly revealed, showing two main rooms at either end of a rectangular block, separated by a third room or open space, and flanked by corridors at front and rear. No wings are apparent. Above and to the east of the Roman building, sited on the summit of the ridge and central to the main encircling enclosure (described below), are a pair of ditched circular structures, conceivably barrows or the footings of circular buildings. These are neatly bisected by a narrow linear ditch, which has a curved corner downslope to the west, in the manner of a Roman camp but less regular in layout.

Both Roman stone building and circular enclosures are enclosed within a univallate enclosure, very likely a pre-Roman Iron Age hillfort rather than a formal enclosure for a Roman temple on this prominent summit. The defended enclosure measures 320m long by 220m across and encloses around 5 hectares. The southern part of this enclosure is wooded, but LiDAR data reveals a neat circular mound in a wooded summit position at ST 5275 9744, conceivably a further barrow matching the two plough-levelled examples above the Roman building. Only the Roman building is protected by scheduling, with much of the wider complex lying beyond the scheduled area.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, Dec 2013.

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