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BROAD HEATH, ROMAN VILLA OR TEMPLE

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 308868

Map Reference SO36SW

Grid Reference SO34176346

Unitary (Local) Authority Powys

Old County Radnorshire

Community Presteigne

Type of Site TEMPLE, VILLA

Broad Class AGRICULTURE AND SUBSISTENCE

Period Roman

Site Description 1. The Roman villa and enclosure complex at Broad Heath includes a sub-rectangular enclosure, 95m east-west by 70-78m, noted from the air in 1995, and trenched and surveyed in 1997. The enclosure was defined by a substantial ditch and is thought to have been internally ramparted; internal features were confined to a series of ditches/gullies describing a rough rectangle, about 38m across, and are not characteristic of a settlement site of this period. The ceramic assemblage indiated occupation from the mid 2nd to the 3rd-4th century AD; environmental analysis showed that cereals predominated in a recovered charred plant macrofossil assemblage. Further ditches, possibly representing a further enclosure, were explored immediately to the south-east.

Source: Jones 1999 (AW 39), 17-26.

2. Note on new cropmarks from 2011. The site was identified during Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance in 1995, and was investigated in 1997 by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust as part of a wider Cadw-funded project to examine Romano-British settlement evidence in southern Powys. A geophysical survey of the enclosure by Stratascan was followed by three exploratory trenches. The results of these excavations were fully reported by Jones in 1999 but it was noted at the time that while the results of the three techniques of aerial photography, geophysical survey and trial excavation correlated well in general, there were areas of disagreement in the final plan of the enclosure complex.
Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance in April 2011 April revealed very clear cropmarks of the Broad Heath enclosure. These were clearer than had been seen on any previous occasion and add considerably to the published plan in the 1999 report. The main 103m x 81m enclosure whose 3.95m wide ditch was investigated in Trench B in 1999 can be seen to be rectangular, regular on three sides but with an angular north-east corner. It encloses 0.8 hectare. The cropmarks have also clarified a main square inner enclosure 38m x 43m and demonstrate that this sat within a larger, concentric square enclosure 57m across. Both the main outer enclosure and the inner enclosure have simple gateways in their eastern sides, while the main outer enclosure may also be broken by a narrow gate on its northern boundary. The cropmarks have also clarified the western edges of at least two rather irregular sub-rectangular enclosures to the south-east of the main site, the northern one 54m long north-south, and the southern one some 49m long, one overlapping the other. These were sampled in 1997 in Trench C, at a time when only a single angled ditch had been identified from cropmarks and geophysical survey. This trench uncovered two of the ditches along the western side of the group, both V-shaped and varying in depth between 0.60m – 0.70m deep. Two hearths and other associated features were found within the enclosure group suggesting a domestic rather than agricultural use for this part of the site. Some 72m south of the main enclosure, and lying between it and the Hindwell Brook, are three sides of a further 32m square enclosure with rounded corners and slightly irregular sides. Cropmarks show one or two other lengths of ditch in the field, particularly a curving and angular pair of incomplete ditches outside the south-eastern corner of the main enclosure.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2012

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