Ancient Monuments

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The Gaer, Brecon

A Scheduled Monument in Yscir (Ysgir), Powys

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Latitude: 51.9567 / 51°57'24"N

Longitude: -3.4518 / 3°27'6"W

OS Eastings: 300330

OS Northings: 229683

OS Grid: SO003296

Mapcode National: GBR YL.LY4L

Mapcode Global: VH6BY.420V

Entry Name: The Gaer, Brecon

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1921

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 813

Cadw Legacy ID: BR001

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Fort

Period: Roman

County: Powys

Community: Yscir (Ysgir)

Traditional County: Brecknockshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Roman fort. The fort encloses about 7 acres and was partially excavated between 1924 and 1925, and again in 1970. The fort is of characteristic Roman rectangular, ‘playing card’, plan with rounded corners, measuring 204m E-W by 154m N-S. There are opposing twin-turreted gates in each of its four sides and internal corner turrets. The larger western gate was the principal entrance. The excavations revealed that the earliest fort was timber-built, defended by double ditches and a clay rampart. This earliest fort was built around AD 75.In the interior the remains of a timber principia (headquarters building) and a proetorium (commandant’s house) were identified during excavation, as well as timber barrack blocks ,and the layout of the internal streets was mapped. At some point after AD 140 the fort was rebuilt in stone, with a 1m wide masonry wall built into the external face of the ramparts and substantial stone gates replacing the original timber ones. The principa and proetorium were rebuilt as complex stone courtyard structures, along with a stone granary to the north, and a small bath house was built in the NW quadrant of the fort. The barrack blocks remained as timber constructions. In the late Roman or early post-Roman period a crude, massive, rear revetment wall, between 3m and 4m thick was built over the eastern defences, blocking both the eastern and southern gates and overlying the NE tower. Excavations also revealed extensive evidence for the civilian settlement (vicus) along the Roman road running from the N gate of the fort. Postholes, clay and cobble floors, drainage gullies and hearths were identified, interpreted as the remains of both domestic buildings and workshops. Two substantial complexes of masonry buildings were also identified on the N side of the fort, interpreted as a mansio (official guest accommodation) and possibly a villa or bath house. Further evidence for the vicus has been found on the northern and eastern sides of the fort, identified through small-scale excavation and geophysical survey. Roads exit the fort on all four sides, connecting it with other forts in the area. A further road runs E/W past the northern side of the vicus.

The monument is of national importance as a particularly well-preserved example of a Roman fort and associated vicus, with a complex sequence of development. In addition to the upstanding features there are extensive related below-ground archaeological deposits which hold great potential to enhance our knowledge of Roman military and domestic architecture and material culture and the nature and chronology of the Roman presence in the region.

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

Source: Cadw

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