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A snapshot of the Llangammarch Wells Sketch

The Roman Occupation

Travelling north out of the village of Llangammarch, on the Beulah road, a section of Roman road intersects at Dol-y-gaer farmhouse and continues north.  This represents part of the Sarn Helen route, built between the Roman forts at Llandovery and Castell Collen (near Llandrindod Wells). 

Excavation has uncovered a timber building (possibly the commandant’s house) of the conquest period of the late 70s.  A later stone granary was also found, its floor supported on small stone pillars.  Pottery fragments found at the fort and at the adjacent civilian settlement in the fields to the north-east indicate an occupation period from 80 to 140 AD, after which the site seems to have been abandoned.  At some time within this period the area of the fort was reduced from 4.2 to 3 acres, suggesting a possible demotion of status or simply a scaling-down of garrison size.

Standing on a low hill close to the road and overlooking the river plain was the fort of Caerau, now remaining only as an earth mound within the boundaries of Caerau Farm. Caerau was an ideal "half-way house" between Llandovery and Castell Collen. The fort itself probably housed about five hundred infantry or cavalry. It has been suggested that the defences around the fort - clay ramparts surrounded by double ditches and then a plateau surrounded by an outer ditch with no bank around the area, provided for a sinister "killing field".

The Ordovices - local Welsh tribesmen who put up a spirited resistance to the Roman occupation - were lured across the single ditch by the possibility of an easy victory against the Romans, only to become trapped between the ditch and the implacable defences before them, and mown down in organised butchery.

written by Martin Dallosso and taken from Llangammarch Wells Past and Present – A History and Guide. March 2000