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FORDEN GAER ROMAN SETTLEMENT; FORDEN GAER ROMAN FORT

Site Details



NPRN 94012

Map Reference SO29NW

Grid Reference SO2079598905

Unitary (Local) Authority Powys

Old County Montgomeryshire

Community Forden

Type of Site FORT, SETTLEMENT

Broad Class CIVIL, DEFENCE

Period Roman

Site Description This is the site of a Roman settlement centred on large earthwork enclosure, the Gaer. Comparison with Leintwardine suggests this was a civil settlement or town, albeit one with military origins (Brown 1996, 560). The ploughed-down earthworks of the rectangular, round-cornered, enclosure cover an area of about 200m north-south by 186m and stood up to 2.8m high in 1973. The site is known mainly from trenching in the 1920s (Pryce and Pryce 1927, 1929, 1930) and air photography (notably CUAP BGE29, BGR13, AXA 75). Small scale trenching was carried out in 1975 (Conrell 1975) and 1987 (Blockley 1990).

It is speculated that the earliest Roman occupation was a large Flavian fort of about 6.3ha constructed on the line of the road between Caersws and Wroxeter and close to an important fording point on the River Severn. The civil settlement was laid out in the earlier second century and came to be enclosed by a triple ditched enclosure of 3.3ha with north and south facing entrances. This enclosure was reconstructed at least two times, resulting in the present earthworks. It is likely that it represents a westwards expansion of an earlier circuit, as north-south double ditches can be seen crossing at a slight angle on the aerial coverage. There are three main north-south streets. The western street is a through road and follows the axis of the triple ditched enclosure. The eastern streets follow the same alignment as the double ditches. All three appear to have been lined with the strip buildings characteristic of Roman civil settlements. The western street was built up as far as the present river bank, 180m south of the Gaer. Occupation continued into the last century of Roman rule (Simpson 1962, 157-165). A possible amphitheatre lies 180m east of the Gaer (NPRN 401218). The final phase of enclosure may have been post-Roman and could be associated with the possible hall identified 50m to the north (see NPRN 309300).

Sources: Pryce & Pryce in Archaeologia Cambrensis 82 (1927), 333-54
in Archaeologia Cambrensis 84 (1929), 100-139
in Archaeologia Cambrensis 85 (1930), 115-30
Simpson in Archaeologia Cambrensis 111 (1962), 103-166
Jarrett 'The Roman Frontier in Wales' 2nd edition (1969), 85-8
Conrell in Archaeology in Wales 15 (1975), 51 65)
Crew in the Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 28.4 (1980), 730-42
Blockley in the Montgomeryhire Collections 78 (1990), 17-46
Brown in the Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalist's Field Club 48.3 (1996), 510-572

John Wiles, RCAHMW, 12 April 2007

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