You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

Prestatyn Roman Site

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSJ08SE
Grid ReferenceSJ0621081750
Unitary (Local) AuthorityDenbighshire
Old CountyFlintshire
Excavations in 1934-7 and from 1981 revealed elements of a first to second century Roman settlement that possibly extending into the 3rd century. The most prominent feature is a bathhouse of about 11.7m by 4.5m, but evidence of bronze working was also recovered. Prior occupation of the site was represented by traces of a roundhouse and other circular structures, together with an infant burial, dated to about 30 BC (AW 25 (1985) 29).

A fort at Prestatyn was first proposed in the 1930s, lying to the north of Melyd Avenue near a house called `Claremont?, where a ditch dating to c. AD 70-80 was discovered. Investigation of lower-lying ground to the south produced numerous stamped tiles of Legio XX and led to the identification of three masonry buildings, including a bath-house. However, a trench 50m long into the interior of the putative `fort? enclosure revealed no traces of Roman occupation. Excavations in the 1950s by the county historical society under G. Webster and then a Mr Tobias seem to have left no records, while in 1973 building rubble considered to be not later than c. AD 150 was found in the south-east corner of the Meadows Estate c. 30 to 40m south of the bath-house. Webster's view that the Claremont fort was not authentic was reinforced by geophysical survey in the grounds of Ysgol y Llys in the mid-1980s, and by evaluations in 2001, and again in 2003, none of which provided any Roman features or material.

Excavations in 1980 re-assessed the area of the 1930s excavations, revealing that rather than being an element of a Roman fort on the plateau to the north, the ditch ran south-south-east, forming part of an enclosure around the Melyd Avenue bath-house and industrial complex which was excavated in 1984/5. The bath-house was built in two stages, the initial one by Legio XX c. AD 120, with the later addition of a cold room and plunge bath, fed by a timber aqueduct. Bronze- and iron-smithing, and enamelling was conducted in adjacent, timber-built workshops, operating from c. AD 90/100 to c. AD 160. The other buildings found in the 1930s unquestionably form part of the same complex, now under a housing estate to the west of the bath-house. The current view is that these may signal a vicus-like settlement associated with a harbour installation designed for the shipment of lead and silver from nearby the mines, though its precise nature is unclear.

A second fort c. 250m to the north-west and known as Ffordd Isa was proposed by G. D. B. Jones in 1976, who recorded one outer and two inner ditches, no more than 0.7m deep, fronting a substantial clay rampart. No further evidence has been adduced to confirm this `fort? and the features visible on the aerial photographs that led to the discovery of the site are unconvincing. As a result of assessments in 2003-4 this site was de-scheduled in 2006.

Rectilinear, ditched and ramparted enclosures, centred on SJ05908205 and SJ06208182, are no longer thought to represent military sites (see Nprn275845).

Sources: Newstead 1937 (AC 92.2), 208-32;
1938 (AC 93), 175-91.
Blockley 1989 'Prestatyn 1984-5 ...' BAR British series 210.

J. Wiles, RCAHMW, 2005
R.J. Silvester, CPAT, from The Roman Frontier in Wales, 2010.