Ancient Monuments

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Caerleon Legionary Fortress: Area between Priory Hotel and Priory Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Caerleon (Caerllion), Newport (Casnewydd)

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Latitude: 51.6095 / 51°36'34"N

Longitude: -2.955 / 2°57'18"W

OS Eastings: 333961

OS Northings: 190504

OS Grid: ST339905

Mapcode National: GBR J7.9WYX

Mapcode Global: VH7B6.QTN1

Entry Name: Caerleon Legionary Fortress: Area between Priory Hotel and Priory Lodge

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1974

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3308

Cadw Legacy ID: MM236

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Legionary fortress

Period: Roman

County: Newport (Casnewydd)

Community: Caerleon (Caerllion)

Built-Up Area: Caerleon

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument comprises buried features and earthworks representing part of a Roman legionary fortress. The fortress at Caerleon, or Isca, is one of only three permanent legionary fortresses in Britain and was founded around AD75. Its construction was probably linked to the campaigns of the Governor of Britannia, Julius Frontinus, against the Silures. The fortress was home to the 2nd Augusta Legion, a legion of over 500 men. The site of the fortress was chosen for its position on gently rising ground adjacent to the river Usk at a point where it could be bridged but was also accessible to sea-going ships, and on the road between Wroxeter, Gloucester and Carmarthen. The fortress covered an area of 50 acres and conformed to the standard playing card design, had a gated entrance in the middle of each side and was divided into insulae, or blocks, by a network of roads. The fortress was in use by the 2nd Augusta Legion until around AD300 after which it continued to be partly occupied although there is no clear evidence to determine whether the occupation was military or civilian.

The site covers part of two insulae located between the via principalis and the via praetorian. The N part of the site was subject to a small-scale excavation in the 1960s that identified a series of domestic structures fronting the via principalis. These are thought to be Tribune’s houses. The insula to the S has been partially surveyed using geophysics and the remains of a large courtyard building identified. Excavation of the W part of this structure, in the adjacent Priory Field, has revealed that it functioned as a warehouse for the storage of military equipment.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of Roman military organisation. The monument forms an important element within the wider context of the Roman occupation of Wales and the structures may contain well preserved archaeological evidence concerning chronology, layout and building techniques.

The scheduled areas comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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