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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Caerwent Roman Town - Tour of Ancient world

Name:    Caerwent Roman Town
Continent:    EUROPE
Alt Name:     -
Country:    United Kingdom
Period:    Ancient Rome
Sub-Region:    Northern Europe
Date:    100AD - 199AD
City/Town:    Caerwent
Figure:     -
Resorts: 
   Caerwent, Wales,

Caerwent Roman Town history
Caerwent Roman Town is the name of the collection of Roman ruins which formed part of the once buzzing Roman settlement of Venta Silurum.
Probably founded in the first century AD, Venta Silurum reached its peak in the second century and was home to a range of buildings and facilities. From the remains of houses, a temple and an amphitheatre to its impressive 17-feet high defensive walls, Caerwent Roman Town has much to offer.
There are information panels along the way and pre-booked guided tours are available on certain days.

 Roman building foundations and the tower of the parish church at Caerwent

 Near infra-red kite aerial photo of the north wall of Caerwent

 Northgate Inn pub sign


Caerwent is a village and community in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located about five miles west of Chepstow and eleven miles east of Newport, and was originally founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta Silurum, an important settlement of the Brythonic Silures tribe. The modern village is built around the Roman ruins, which are some of the best-preserved in Europe. It remained prominent through the Roman era and Early Middle Ages as the site of a road crossing between several important civic centres.

History
 
Roman times
It was founded by the Romans in AD 75 as Venta Silurum, a market town for the defeated Silures tribe. This is confirmed by inscriptions on the "Civitas Silurum" stone, now on display in the parish church. Large sections of the Roman town walls are still in place, rising up to 5 metres high in places. Historian John Newman has described the walls as "easily the most impressive town defence to survive from Roman Britain, and in its freedom from later rebuilding one of the most perfectly preserved in Northern Europe." In 1881 a portion of a highly intricate coloured floor mosaic or tessellated pavement, depicting different types of fish, were unearthed during excavations in the garden of a cottage.
Excavations in 1971 dated the north-west polygonal angle-tower to the mid-300s. Further excavations were carried out in 2008 by Wessex Archaeology as part of the Channel 4 TV programme Time Team. Modern houses are built on top of part of the old Roman market place. The ruins of several Roman buildings are still visible, including the foundations of a 4th-century Roman temple. The fact that most of the houses lacked mosaic or hypocaust-heated floors, however, suggests that despite its size, Caerwent never achieved the cultural level of other Romano-British tribal capitals.
Early Christian times
Caerwent was a centre for the Kingdom of Gwent after the Roman occupation. The name Caerwent translates from Welsh as "fort of Gwent", and the name Gwent derives from the Roman name Venta (Silurum). The English town name of Winchester has a parallel derivation, ultimately from the combination of the Latin words Venta, in that case, Venta Belgarum, and castra.
Caerwent remained an important centre, where the road between Gloucester and Caerleon met the north-south road from Shrewsbury, via Monmouth and Trellech, to the sea at Portskewett. Excavations at Caerwent have revealed remains and everyday objects from the post-Roman period. Metalwork, including elaborate penannular brooches and fastening pins, have been dated to the 5th-7th centuries. A large number of Christian burials, some stone-lined, dating from between the 4th and 9th centuries have also been discovered, both around the town's East Gate and close to the parish church. It has been suggested that it may have been the birthplace of St. Patrick.

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