Cost: Free

The Legionary Fortress at Caerleon


Ordinary Meeting of Fellows

The Legionary Fortress at Caerleon: Recent Discoveries and New Perspectives

Lecture by Dr Peter Guest FSA

Home to Legio Secunda Augusta and known to the Romans as Isca, the fortress at Caerleon on the lower reaches of the River Usk on South Wales has been the focus of antiquarian and archaeological research for over two centuries. Excavation of the amphitheatre by Mortimer and Tessa Verney Wheeler first caught the public’s imagination in the 1920s, since when large parts of the fortress have been more-or-less systematically investigated. From the excavations at Prysg Field in the later 1920s (by V.E. Nash-Williams), to those on the site of the Fortress Baths in the 1970s and 1980s (by D. Zienkiewicz), Caerleon is one of the best-known legionary fortresses from the Roman Empire.

By the beginning of the 21st century, however, it was clear that much remained to be discovered about the fortress and its garrison, and a series of ambitious collaborative research projects was initiated to further investigate the site. Extensive geophysical surveys have revealed previous unknown buildings within the fortress and in its immediate hinterland, while major excavations were undertaken of a store-building in Priory Field as well as in the area of the so-called ‘Southern Canabae’.

This lecture will describe the key findings of this recent research, looking in particular at the military equipment recovered from the Priory Field store building and the remains of the complex of monumental buildings in the Southern Canabae. The various recent excavations are currently being written up for publication and the lecture will look at some of the interesting results that this work is producing, including new evidence for the supply of animals to the legion, what happened to Caerleon after the legion was withdrawn, and some thoughts on the orientation of the iconic amphitheatre.

This will be a full Society of Antiquaries meeting, attended by the President and General Secretary of the Society, with an opportunity for Fellows to be formally admitted. The evening's lecture by Dr Guest will follow formal meeting business including admissions and an introduction on current work at the Society in London.

Please contact Jola Zdunek (admin@sal.org.uk) if you wish to be formally admitted to the Society at this meeting.

The meeting will be held at Cardiff University. The schedule will be:



Restaurant (ground floor), Main Building, Cardiff University

The evening will start at 17.15 with light refreshments.



The Wallace Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Cardiff University

The Society Meeting will begin at 17.45, including the opportunity to be formally admitted. The evening's lecture will follow the formal meeting business and admissions.

18.00 (approximate time)

Lecture will begin (guests welcome).

19.00 (approximate time)

Restaurant (ground floor), Main Building, Cardiff University

Wine will be served to guests following the lecture.