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CANOVIUM;KANOVIUM ROMAN MILITARY SETTLEMENT, CAERHUN

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 95640

Map Reference SH77SE

Grid Reference SH7763570365

Unitary (Local) Authority Conwy

Old County Caernarfonshire

Community Caerhun

Type of Site FORT

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Roman

Site Description Canovium, a Roman military settlement set at a strategically important point on a ridge overlooking the Conwy river, is the last intermediate fort in a defensive chain that ran along the coastal road from Chester to Caernarfon. It was occupied, with some breaks, from the time of Agricola's campaign in AD 77/8 through to the the fourth century. The settlement centres on an auxiliary fort, a near square stone walled enclosure, 130-140m across. This was the scene of extensive excavations in 1926-9. At the foot of the river cliff traces of the bathhouse explored in the early nineteenth century can be seen. The settlement is known to have extended along the ridge to the north, extensive remains being glimpsed from the air and in geophysical survey. It was fringed by cemeteries and a possible circular shrine or tomb has been identified on the north. There is some, though not conclusive, evidence that the nearby dock is a Roman structure (NPRN 303122). Roads are known to have led from the settlement, including those to St Asaph (NPRN 303525) and Tomen-y-Mur (NPRN 303519).

Bibliography
General accounts: Willoughby Gardner in Archaeologia Cambrensis 80 (1925), 307-41
RCAHMW Caernarvonshire Inventory Vol. I (1956), 24-6
Jarrett 'The Roman Frontier in Wales' second edition (1969), 56-9
Excavations: Lysons in Archaeologia XVI (1807), 127-34
Reynolds in Archaeologia Cambrensis 82 (1927), 292-332
84 (1929), 61-99
85 (1930), 74-102
86 (1931), 263-339
89 (1934), 37-82
91 (1936), 210-46
Aerial and geophysical survey: Frere and St Joseph 'Roman Britain from the Air' (1983), 106-7
Hopewell in Britannia 36 (2005), 242-7
Reassessments: Simpson in Archaeologia Cambrensis 111 (1962), 124-37
Livens in the Transactions of the Caernarvonshire Historical Society 35 (1974), 7-13

John Wiles, RCAHMW, 15 June 2007

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