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CAER-Y-TWR ROMAN BUILDING, HOLYHEAD MOUNTAIN

Manylion y Safle

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 308080

Cyfeirnod Map SH28SW

Cyfeirnod Grid SH2185482942

Awdurdod Lleol Ynys Mon

Hen Sir Môn

Cymuned Trearddur

Math o Safle TWR, TWR GWYLIO

Dosbarth Cyffredinol FFYRDD

Cyfnod Rhufeinig

Disgrifiad o´r Safle The base of the Roman tower at Caer-y-Twr has been left exposed and consolidated for public access on the summit of Holyhead Mountain. It lies next to a tall Ordnance Survey cairn and pillar, and a little way from a modern drystone shelter. In 1776 Pennant described a strongly cemented circular building 'lately much demolished by ... vulgar ... persons', and suggested that it was a Roman pharos or lighthouse. Excavations in 1980-1 revealed traces of Roman buildings, including the footings of a 5.45m square stone tower (Crew 1980; 1981), associated with second to fourth century pottery and coins, including three of Constantinian date. It was interpreted as a fourth century watch-tower with a construction date after 340 and a period of use extending into the early AD 390s.

Some 20m to the south-south-west are the tumbled ruins of a roughly D-shaped drystone shelter. The bar of the D includes a 1.5m section of some finer walling standing three courses high. This was mortared according to earlier accounts (Willoughby Gardner 1934, 172). There is no trace remaining of a second cairn recorded by RCAHMW on the summit area some 17m south-east of the tower (Inventory, 23).

An ostensibly similar tower has been excavated at Capel Eithin (NPRN 43559) and a less certain example has been noted at Pen Bryn-yr-Eglwys (NPRN 43547), both on Anglesey. Elsewhere, a tower stands at the highest point of the Dinas Emrys fort (NPRN 95284).

Sources: Willoughby Gardner in Archaeologia Cambrensis 89 (1934), 156-73.
RCAHM Anglesey Inventory (1937), 23
Lloyd in Archaeologia Cambrensis 113 (1964), 150-158
Crew in Archaeology in Wales 20 (1980), 42-44
21 (1981), 35-6

John Wiles, RCAHMW, 27 April 2007

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