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20 - 29 July


A Roman presence in and around Dinefwr Park has long been suspected and the presence of two Roman forts was confirmed by geophysical survey in 2003. Parts of the forts were excavated by volunteers working with the National Trust and the Dyfed Archaeological Trust in 2005. Further discoveries of pieces of Roman pottery, tile and brick found in a secluded part of the park near the 'North Heronry Dam', suggest there may be another Roman building (perhaps a bathhouse, temple or villa), located somewhere nearby.

In 2008, following another geophysical survey, a variety of interesting features near the North Heronry Dam including part of a possible Roman road were investigated. At the very end of the excavation, a layer of Roman roof tiles and charcoal were revealed. This exciting discovery may suggest the presence of a significant building, but the terrible weather conditions and the depth of soil above the remains prevented us from digging further.

This summer, with support from the David and Christopher Lewis Foundation and the National Trust, Dyfed Archaeological Trust are again working with volunteers to continue investigating this intriguing site. We hope to make some exciting discoveries.

The dig will run from 20th July to Saturday 25th July. There will be an open day for visitors to see the excavations on guided tours from Newton House on Saturday 25th July (as part of the Festival of British Archaeology). There will also be an opportunity to visit the excavations on the usual 'Deer Park tour' on Thursday 23rd July.

Geophysical survey showing the 2008 excavation trenches in red and the 2009 trenches in green

Archaeo-blog for the 2008 excavation


Trench 16 located over the possible Roman track


Trench 15


The location of Trench 17


Day 1 - Friday 17 July

We started where we left off last year, in the rain. Trenches 15 and 16 were machined. But the largest and potentially the most interesting trench, 17, had a river running through it. We will try tomorrow with this trench.

Duncan Schlee examining Trench 14

Ian Atkinson, Trevor Jose and John Lee cleaning Trench 15

Susan Stalinski, Kenza Barton, Matt Davies and Tony Coombe working in Trench 16. Susan is on the stone of the possible 18th-19th century track

Anthony May in Trench 17


Day 2 - Monday 20 July

Trench 14. This was opened on Saturday when the weather was a little less wet. It was full of water on Monday. We will hire a water pump on Tuesday, but the forecast is for heavy rain!

Trench 15. Several ditches and gullies were revealed in this trench. Their date and function is as yet uncertain.

Trench 16. This trench was cleaned and what looked like ditches to the Roman track quickly revealed. A stone spread at the south end is thought to be a track leading to a 18th-19th century building revealed in 2008.

Trench 17. A small trench over a low earthwork boundary did not reveal anything of interest.

A blurry photograph of Kenza Barton pumping out Trench 14

Day 3 - Tuesday 21 July

A very wet day. No excavation was possible, but Trench 14 was pumped out. It immediately filled up again!


Sheltering from the heavy rain

Kenza Barton excavating Trench 14

...and with an amphora handle from the layer of Roman brick

Deione Thurston excavating the possible wall foundation in Trench 15

The late wall in Trench 16 being excavated by Susan Stalinski

Matt Davies in one of the track-side ditches in Trench 16

Day 4 - Wednesday 22 July

Another wet day. As heavy showers merged into rain we abandoned excavation in the late afternoon. Some progress was made in Trench 14 with a layer of Roman brick and tile exposed in the section.

In Trench 15 two of the ditches are parallel and may have flanked a track. A line of flat stones may be the remains of a stone foundation.

In Trench 16 excavation of the ditches of the possible Roman track progressed. What was thought to be a late track at the south end of the trench has turned out to be a substantial wall.

Tony Coombe and Matt Davies excavating one of the roadside ditches in Trench 16

One of the roadside ditches showing its sharp, V-shaped profile

Stephen Martin excavating a posthole by the side of one the roadside ditches, Trench 16

Susan Stalinski recording the late wall in Trench 16

Kenza Barton and Ken Murphy recording the section in Trench 14. The Roman brick/tile comes from a layer just above the water level

Day 5 - Thursday 23 July

A day with only a little rain! Good progress was made on all trenches, with sections cut across most features. It was possible to pump out Trench 14, clean up the section and record it. It is quite clear that the large amount of Roman tile/brick and other building material is not in its original position, but has been eroded into the ‘valley’ investigated by this trench.



John Lee holding a perforated stone disc from a ditch Trench 15

Trench 15 after the heavy rain

Hubert Wilson surveying Trench 14

Day 6 - Friday 24 July

Torrential rain put an end to excavating in the early afternoon. The V-shaped ditches in Trench 15 are of Roman character, but no datable artefacts are associated with them. Recording of features continued. Apart from the late wall in Trench 14 most features are probably of Roman date, but as with Trench 15 there is little dating evidence.




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