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Cefn Caer Roman Fort;Pennal Roman Fort

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Map ReferenceSH70SW
Grid ReferenceSH7048300096
Unitary (Local) AuthorityGwynedd
Old CountyMerioneth
Type Of SiteFORT
An extensive Roman military settlement occupies the western end of a low ridge, with meadows and marshes on three sides, on the north side of the Dyfi. It is known from aerial reconnaissance, geophysical survey and small scale trenching. Hopewell's programme of geophysical survey for the Roman Fort Environs project in north-west Wales (see Hopewell 2005, below) revealed the most comprehensive plan of the fort and its surrounding structures.

The settlement centres on an auxiliary fort. This is a rectangular enclosure with rounded corners roughly 140m north-east to south-west by 120m, enclosing an area of about 1.68ha. It appears to have been built on the site of an earlier triple-ditched fort of about 2.4ha. The remains of a stone wall were remarked upon in the seventeenth century. The fort appears to have featured several masonry or stone-founded buildings, and centred on a monumental headquaters complex. This occupied a natural rise at the centre of the fort.

There were annexes on the south-west and north-east. The south-eastern annex enclosed at least two masonry buildings, one with a hypocaust (under-floor heating), the other part of a large courtyard complex. An extensive extramural settlement is recorded on the north-west and north-east sides. Its metalled streets were lined by 'strip buildings' & aisled buildings. Below the south-western annex was a small circular building, probably a shrine or tomb. The settlement was established in the 70s AD and the larger early fort may have been constructed in the wake of the region's initial conquest. Occupation continued into the third century and possibly beyond.

Sources: Archaeologia Cambrensis third series 12 (1866), 542
Irvine in the Bulletin of the oard of Celtic Studies 17 (1957), 124-131
Bowen & Gresham 'The History of Merioneth I' (1967), 238-40
Jarrett 'The Roman Frontier in Wales' 2nd edition (1969), 104-6
Boon 'Isca' (1972), 51-2
Davies in Archaeology in Wales 23 (1983), 39-40
Hopewell in Britannia 36 (2005), 227-33, 254-9

John Wiles, RCAHMW, 13 June 2007 and T. Driver, RCAHMW, 14 October 2008.
application/pdfCPATP - Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Project ArchivesCPAT report no 1519 "Cefn-caer Roman Fort, Pennal. Archaeological Mitigation" CPAT Project No 2216. Prepared by Richard Hankinson, August 2017.