Archaeologists from Wrexham Museum, the University of Chester and Archaeological Survey West have discovered a Roman villa near Rossett, Wrexham. The villa is the first of its kind ever to be discovered in north east Wales and represents an exciting addition to our knowledge of the area during the Roman period.
The site was discovered through the cooperation of local metal detectorists who discovered Roman material at the site, this sparked a remote sensing survey which revealed clear evidence of a buried structure. The remains appear to be of a fairly typical form with a number of stone and tile buildings surrounding a central courtyard, the survey also suggested its association with a field system, a trackway and other related buildings and structures. Fieldwalking at the site has yielded artefacts from the late 1st century to the early 4th century AD, suggesting that the villa was occupied for the majority of Roman rule in Britain.
The Roman army invaded Britain in AD 43 and quickly pushed northwards and westwards across the country. The fortress at Chester was established around AD 74 and with relative peace came the establishment of a network of towns and rural settlements. Most villas were essentially farming establishments, ranging from relatively simple in design to very grand with mosaic floors, bath houses and underfloor heating systems. The discovery of architectural fragments found during fieldwalking suggest that this villa may incorporate at least some of these grander features.
Dr Caroline Pudney, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester said: “This exciting discovery potentially alters our understanding of north east Wales in the wake of the Roman conquest. Previous interpretations suggest that most people in this area either lived in settlements associated with Roman military sites or in quite simple farmsteads that continued to utilise Iron Age roundhouse architectural forms. The identification of the villa now questions this narrative.”
Councillor Hugh Jones, Lead Member for People at Wrexham Council and the local Member for the Rossett ward said: “This discovery is remarkable and just goes to underline the significant number of fantastic archaeological discoveries that have taken place in and around Rossett in recent years, whether it be Bronze Age such as the wonderful Burton Hoard or the Roman lead pig (or ingot) that is currently on display at the Museum.”
The Museum and the University are now planning a programme of work to further investigate the site over the next few years subject to funding and appropriate permissions. The work on the project to date has been funded by the Roman Research Trust and supported by Wrexham Museum and the University of Chester.
For further Information please contact Dr Caroline Pudney, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology University of Chester, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Steve Grenter Heritage & Archives Lead, Wrexham Museum Tel. 01978 297462 email email@example.com
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