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CEFN-BRYNICH ROMAN FORT;CEFNBRYNICH ROMAN FORT

Site Details

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

NPRN 419242

Map Reference SO02NE

Grid Reference SO07312735

Unitary (Local) Authority Powys

Old County Brecknockshire

Community Brecon

Type of Site FORT

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Roman

Site Description The site of large early (pre-Flavian) Roman fort complex, sited on a bluff overlooking the River Usk at the junction point of a key route north from the Usk Valley. The southern half of the fort is under cultivation and showed as cropmarks from the air in the summer of 2013; the central and northern parts of the site lie under permanent pasture with the approximate lines of the Roman defences fossilised by hedgebanks.

Cropmarks show that the Roman fort is defined by three ditches and traces of metalled internal features, one of which appears to be a surfaced inter-vallum road. This is linked on the south side, towards the river escarpment, by additional bivallate ditches springing from the south-west and south-east corners of the fort enclosing an outer annex. On the west side is a univallate annex or former Roman marching camp, separated from the main fort by an additional broad ditch. Environment Agency 2m LiDAR data shows the survival of a denuded earthwork of the fort defences measuring approx. 230m N-S by 200m E-W internally (to the innermost rampart of the Roman fort) and extending to some 300m N-S by 260m E-W to the outer extents of the ditch system. A field visit by T. Driver and J.L. Davies on 12th August showed that the rampart earthwork stands to no more than approx. 20cm under pasture.

The discovery of the fort was triggered by Dr Jeffrey L. Davies' recognition that Claudian Roman coins (c. AD 43-64), reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme from nearby Cefn-Brynich farm, suggested the likelihood of a fort in the vicinity commanding the River Usk. These coins were originally discovered and reported by Mr Preece and form the basis of an important concentration shown in Figure 1.12 of Roman Frontiers in Wales and the Marches (RCAHMW 2010). On the basis of this information Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance was targeted in the Brecon/Brynich area on 1st August 2013, when the vestiges of a green-on yellow cropmark of the southern half of the complex was recorded in a ripening crop, confirming the existence of a significant and previously undocumented Roman fort.

The definitive report of the site was published in the journal Britannia for 2015.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2nd August 2013; updated 2016

References:

Davies, J.L. and Driver, T. 2014. Cefn-Brynich Roman Fort, in: Driver, T. Aerial Survey, Archaeology in Wales 53 (2014), p. 169 & Figure18.

Musson, C., and Driver, T. 2015. Above Brecknock, An Historic County from the Air. The Brecknock Society and Museum Friends and The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, in collaboration with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

Davies, J.L. and Driver, T.G. 2015. Cefn-Brynich Farm: a New Claudio-Neronian Fort in the Usk Valley, Powys. Britannia 2015, pp 21-27

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