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Cardiff archaeologists excavate Roman Fortress in Caerleon

13 June 2008

Archaeologists from Cardiff University are to begin excavating part of the remains of the 2,000 year old Roman Fortress in Caerleon, Newport.

Led by Dr Peter Guest, of the School of History and Archaeology, the team of 50 archaeologists from Cardiff and University College London will excavate the remains of a monumental courtyard building in the south-western corner of the fortress.

The building’s existence was discovered during geophysical surveys undertaken by staff and students from Cardiff University and was investigated during trial excavations in 2007.

This year’s excavation will open a large trench over the building, which is believed to be a store-building or warehouse. It is hoped that the excavations will reveal a wealth of new information about the storage facilities, provisioning, and supply of a Legion in Britain.

Dr Peter Guest, of the School of History and Archaeology said: "Store-buildings are a largely unknown feature of legionary fortresses, and our work is the first research excavation conducted on a military store in Britain. We hope that our findings will not only improve our knowledge of the fortress and its inhabitants, but also tell us more about the history of the fortress and Roman Britain. This is real archaeology in action and we are looking forward to an exciting summer in Caerleon."

Throughout the project Dr Guest and the team will be keeping a dig-blog detailing their progress. The blog can be found at

Members of the public will also be able to join free twice-daily tours of the excavation site, where they can see some of the latest archaeological finds uncovered by the team.The project starts on 16 June 2008 and is supported by Cadw and the National Roman Legion Museum. Tours of the site are available at 11.00am and 2.30pm daily (except Saturday’s) and the team will also be involved in events for Caerleon’s Roman Spectacular Military Weekend (28 and 29 June 2008) and National Archaeology Week (12-20 July).

During National Archaeology Week, the University will also have a series of public hands-on events and activities at Cosmeston Community Archaeology project.

For more information on the Caerleon excavations or the Cosmeston Community Archaeology project please contact Gemma Turner, Community Engagement Officer on 02920 876 936.


Notes to Editors:

1. Cardiff School of History and Archaeology

The School of History and Archaeology carries out teaching and research in four main areas: History and Welsh History; Ancient History; Archaeology; and Archaeology Conservation.

History and Welsh History offers a broad survey of the main aspects from the medieval period to the twentieth century. Areas of expertise include: Medieval England, the Crusades, military religious orders; early modern England and Wales; early modern Spain; and modern Indian historiography and gender history. The broad area of Europe and the British Empire in the Twentieth Century encompasses such research themes as: modern Germany; biological racism and ethics; the Right in France; and the Wilson era in British politics. Areas of expertise in Welsh history include early modern Wales; the gentry; industrialisation; popular culture and Welsh emigration/dispersal (with particular reference to North America)

Ancient History focuses on the social and economic history of the ancient world, with particular emphasis on: warrior elites; warfare and the formation; organisation and social effects of armies; violence and its control inside ancient societies; issues of identity, especially gender history and ethnicity; and slavery and other systems of labour and land exploitation.

Archaeology offers expertise in two main areas: the archaeology of Britain, Europe and the Mediterranean 5000BC-1000AD; and studies in ancient technology and the analysis of materials and conservation science.

The Archaeology Conservation degree scheme offered by the School is one of only two such undergraduate courses in Britain. It attracts conservation commissions from throughout the UK, giving students valuable hands-on experience. The teaching of Ancient History and Archaeology was assessed as "Excellent" in the recent national assessment of teaching quality in UK universities.

2. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES).

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

Further Information:

Victoria Dando

Public Relations Office

Tel: 02920 879074