Edge of Empire: Romans in South Wales
Life in ancient Caerleon and Caerwent
The most Westerly part of the Roman Empire, South East Wales presents some of the finest Roman remains in the UK, boasting both Caerleon and Caerwent, which invite us to consider not only the lives of soldiers but the lives of ordinary people in a provincial Romano-British town. Caerleon, the headquarters for the Legio II Augusta, presents a number of photogenic remains, including barracks, baths and an amphitheatre; it was also known by both Bede and Gildas, who described the martyrdoms of two saints, Julius and Aaron. In turn, Caerwent, the ancient town of Venta Silurum, built by Rome to accommodate the defeated Silures, is one of the hidden gems of Roman Britain, boasting the best-preserved Roman city wall in the country with magnificent projecting towers. Within the walls, we will visit the excavated remains which include part of the Forum/Basilica, a temple, a number of houses and shops. In the medieval church a Roman statue base, altar and other fragments of sculpture are on display.
Two kilometres (1¼ miles) to the north of Caerwent, occupying a prominent hilltop overlooking the Severn Estuary, are the remains of an impressive hillfort, Llanmelin Camp (Figure 5). Occupied in the Iron Age it is thought to be a major centre of the Silures prior to the Roman conquest. The earthwork remains comprise a main enclosure with a series of annexes on the south-east side. To the north are the remains of a smaller earthwork enclosure known as ‘The Outpost’. First surveyed by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, limited excavations were undertaken by Victor Nash-Williams between 1931 and 1932 and recognised three phases of occupation; an early phase hillfort flanked by extra mural occupation to the east was superceded in the 2nd century BC by a multivallate expansion of the original hillfort.
- No Twin rooms available for this tour
Your Departure date
Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £97.50
Day 1 - Caerleon -
Today we make our way to Wales, where we meet in Caerleon. After settling into our hotel, our expert Guide Lecturer will offer an evening lecture on the archaeological finds of South East Wales.
|Hotel||The Priory, Caerleon|
Day 2 - Caerleon -
We spend the morning exploring the Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon, one of only three permanent fortresses in Britannia. Here we see the barracks of the Legio II Augusta, one of the most intact legionary barracks in the Roman Empire, as well as defensive towers. We proceed to the amphitheatre, which once held 6,000 and may well have been constructed for the benefit of the soldiers as well as civilians living in nearby civilian settlements, cannabae. After a coffee break, we venture to the fortress bath house, which includes a sizeable outdoor swimming pool, a natatio. In the afternoon, we will have a special behind the scenes tour of the National Roman Legion Museum in the company of Dr Mark Lewis/ or Evan Chapman who will offer an in-depth analysis of the archaeological finds from the area.
|Hotel||The Priory, Caerleon|
|Meals included||All meals included|
Day 3 - Caerwent -
The tour continues to Caerwent, ancient Venta Silurum, on the road leading from Caerleon to Gloucester, which was established in AD 75 to settle the Silures and was expanded in the Hadrianic period. Here we see what has often been described as the most significant Roman walls in Britain, reaching the height of five metres. We continue to the site of the forum and basilica at the centre of the ancient city and thence to an ancient temple from the late antique period and to the remains of houses and shops excavated recently. Our last visit is to the Roman Temple at Lydney*, built on the sea front in two different stages, in the Hadrianic and late antique periods. Once situated in an unexcavated settlement, we see the remains of a hypocaust and a number of well-built rooms.
We return back to our hotel in Caerleon at around 16.30
* If The Roman Temple is close we will instead visit Llannelin Wood Hillfort.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Lunch|
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Professional Tour Manager
- Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
- Meals as per the itinerary, wine and tea or coffee with dinner
- Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
- Field notes
- All taxes & gratuities
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Availability|
|1 September 2023||ASSE230901||1 September 2023 (Friday)||3 September 2023 (Sunday)||Mark Corney||£750
|£250||£97.50||Book your trip|