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Montgomeryshire collections

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Vol. 60 1967-68

Excavations at Caersŵs, 1967, interim survey

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EXCAVATIONS AT CAERSWS, 1967, INTERIM SURVEY
C. M. DANIELS, M.A., F.S.A., G. D. B. JONES, M.A., D.PHIL., F.S.A., W. G. PUTNAM, B.A.
A second season's excavation was carried out at Caersws during August and
September 1967. The defence-section begun in 1966 was completed, a section
was cut across the praetorium and an area in the vicus shortly to be built upon was
stripped.
1. THE DEFENCES
In the defence-section the earliest ditch, discovered but not excavated in
1966, and the six-foot high clay rampart were fully sectioned. These showed
three distinct periods of construction. The first consisted of a solid laminated
clay rampart c. 29 ft. in width and based on an impressive timber corduroy (PI.
V), with a frontal turf revetment and external ditch 13 ft. 6 ins. in width. At
some date the rampart had been systematically slighted and the ditch filled
(PI. VI). In the second period the slighted rampart was heightened partly with
debris from the fort interior (see below) and partly with fresh stiff clay, the
ditch filling carefully packed with cobbles, and a new rampart face, bonded
into the earlier work, extended across it. The layers of strapping discovered in
1966 actually within the forward mass of the clay rampart formed bonding
courses in this new face and did not run back further than the junction with the
older material. The final period consisted of the addition of a stone face to the
rampart, a feature attested in numerous Welsh forts and elsewhere dated to the
first half of the second century. Of this stone face, however, only the footing
survived.
2. THE FORT INTERIOR
Within the fort the defence-section was carried back 100 ft. from the heel of
the rampart in order to explore the barrack blocks of the retentura and a
further trench, 180 ft. long, was cut across the praetorium. Each of these was
taken down some six feet to the natural clay subsoil. In both the earliest
occupation consisted of timber buildings, from the construction trenches of
which two groups of early or possibly pre-Flavian pottery were recovered.
1 See Mont. Coll. Vol. 59, p. 1 12 for previous season's work and references to earlier publications
and discussions of the site, also Journal of Roman Studies lvii (1967) 174.
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