fortresses elsewhere in the Roman Empire,
fortresses elsewhere in the Roman Empire, which are also often below later towns and cities. However, our knowledge of Roman Caerleon is still patchy at best and archaeologists have struggled to answer some relatively simple questions about the fortress, its history and inhabitants, or the relationships between the fortress and its surrounding landscape. A new programme of research at Caerleon is beginning to reveal important information about the layout of the legionary fortress, while excavations earlier this summer discovered valuable evidence for lateRoman and Medieval occupation that until now has been somewhat elusive.
mapping the Fortress Geophysical surveys undertaken by Dr Tim Young of GeoArch and students from Cardiff University have examined two open and previously unexcavated areas within Isca. These surveys identified several military buildings to add to the fortress plan, including barracks, store buildings and an industrial complex. The results of the magnetometer surveys in Priory
Ge0physical survey (magnetometry) of Above left School Field and Above right Priory Field, within the fortress plan. Left Geophysical survey of Priory Field (resistivity) within the fortress plan.
Ge0physical (magnetometry) of Above Field and Priory Field, within the fortress plan. Left of Priory Field (resistivity) within the fortress plan.
Field, in the south-western corner of the fortress, and School Field to the north beyond the main east-west road (via principalis) are remarkably clear and show that these areas have not been substantially built on since antiquity.
School Field encloses the entire ground plan of a huge square building consisting of four ranges around a central courtyard. Opposite the complex’s entrance was a long basilica-like hall flanked by large square rooms, possibly towers. The very high magnetometer readings across the site are indicative of burning or metalworking and it is likely that this was the location of the fortress’ industrial fabrica, or ‘factory’. Here weapons, hinges, brackets, hooks, nails and many other iron objects would have been manufactured and repaired by the legion’s smiths – an essential day-to-day activity that is rarely included in modern descriptions of the Roman army.
In Priory Field we found a row of eight barrack blocks – each for a century of 80 men and similar to those on display in Prysg Field – parallel with the south wall. The large area between these barracks and the via principalis was dominated by an enclosed row of three rectangular buildings
Excavations earlier this summer discovered valuable evidence for lateRoman and Medieval occupation that until now has been somewhat elusive.