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Caerleon Legionary Fortress: Town Hall Park, High Street

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6112 / 51°36'40"N

Longitude: -2.9571 / 2°57'25"W

OS Eastings: 333822

OS Northings: 190696

OS Grid: ST338906

Mapcode National: GBR J7.9NX4

Mapcode Global: VH7B6.PRKQ

Entry Name: Caerleon Legionary Fortress: Town Hall Park, High Street

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1986

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 248

Cadw Legacy ID: MM241

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Legionary fortress

Period: Roman

County: Newport (Casnewydd)

Community: Caerleon (Caerllion)

Built-Up Area: Caerleon

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

Description

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 the possible location of the Praetorium, the residence of the legate, however this interpretation is based on its location behind the principa and on incomplete excavation evidence from the 1930s. The excavations revealed a building built using monumental masonry with a central courtyard containing an elongated pool with rounded ends, however it is possible that the building could instead be a workshop similar to those found occupying the insulae either side of it. The excavation also revealed waterlogged deposits predating the main phase of occupation at the fortress.

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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