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Digging up the past

14 June 2008

Students seiving for finds at Caerleon

Archaeologists from the University are to begin excavating part of the remains of the 2,000 year old Roman Fortress in Caerleon, Newport.

Led by Dr Peter Guest, of the School of History and Archaeology, the team of 50 archaeologists from Cardiff and University College London will excavate the remains of a monumental courtyard building in the south-western corner of the fortress.

The building’s existence was discovered during geophysical surveys undertaken by staff and students from the University and was investigated during trial excavations in 2007.

This year’s excavation will open a large trench over the building, which is believed to be a store-building or warehouse. It is hoped that the excavations will reveal a wealth of new information about the storage facilities, provisioning, and supply of a Legion in Britain.

Dr Peter Guest, of the School of History and Archaeology said: "Store-buildings are a largely unknown feature of legionary fortresses, and our work is the first research excavation conducted on a military store in Britain. We hope that our findings will not only improve our knowledge of the fortress and its inhabitants, but also tell us more about the history of the fortress and Roman Britain. This is real archaeology in action and we are looking forward to an exciting summer in Caerleon." Initial investigations at Caerleon

Throughout the project Dr Guest and the team will be keeping a dig-blog detailing their progress. Members of the public will also be able to join free twice-daily tours of the excavation site, where they can see some of the latest archaeological finds uncovered by the team.

The project starts on 16 June 2008 and is supported by Cadw and the National Roman Legion Museum. Tours of the site are available at 11.00am and 2.30pm daily (except Saturday’s) and the team will also be involved in events for Caerleon’s Roman Spectacular Military Weekend (28 and 29 June 2008) and National Archaeology Week (12-20 July).

During National Archaeology Week, the University will also have a series of public hands-on events and activities at Cosmeston Community Archaeology project.

For more information on the Caerleon excavations or the Cosmeston Community Archaeology project please contact Gemma Turner, Community Engagement Officer on 02920 876 936.