The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record

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Romano-British farmstead at Church Farm, Caldicot

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 06143g
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Community : Caldicot
Unitary authority : Monmouthshire
NGR : ST48168920
Site Type (preferred type first) : Roman Settlement / Roman defended enclosure
Status : Scheduled Monument

Summary :
A series of stone linear and curvilinear features, limestone rubble spreads, cobble spreads, gullies, post holes and a timber slot, with 2nd to 4th century pottery, found during evaluation and excavation in 1997. There was a Roman enclosure surrounding the site, which may be 200m in diameter.

Description :
Roman material found during the course of a pre-planning field evaluation in 1997 by Bristol and Region Archaeological Services.
Trial trenches revealed a series of stone linear and curvilinear features, limestone rubble spreads, cobble spreads, gullies, post holes and a timber slot. Associated pottery dated from the 2nd to the 4th centuries.

Further work produced evidence of a double-ditched enclosure. The inner ditch (c 3m wide, 0.5m deep) was in two sections interrupted by a cobbled feature tentatively interpreted as a causeway; the inner side of the east section was revetted on with blocks of limestone, and similar blocks formed a low outer bank 2-4m wide. Outer ditch only to E of 'causeway', 1.5m wide and 0.9m deep. Probably also an inner bank similar to outer. E ditch seems to have replaced an earlier one. Also drainage gullies (Foundations Archaeology 2001).

It is possible that there were timber framed structures from the nails found, the presence of a timber slot and a post-hole also suggests this. The stone used is from 25 miles away from the site (the Cotswolds or Barry Island) and as this is a low status farmstead it is possible that these were reused from a closer site, but this is unclear. The farmstead is firmly enclosed in a diameter of 200m with the enclosure following the 30m contour (it is possible it it followed this layout then this would be N-S oriented), typical of South Wales farmsteads of this period (also in terms of its location), but only the eastern defences remain, but these have been eroded. The possible size has been taken from a aerial photograph from 1971. Typical South Wales farmsteads often occupy the top of a small hillock and it is enclosed by bank and ditch features, which often follow the late Iron Age patterns of locations and defences. Very little bone has been found, the most of the bone assemblage being two horses or ponies, only one being articulated, the other remains suggests that this is secondary material that was placed in a ditch. Only one piece of human skeletal remains is present, containing three teeth, which could be from a nearby burial. It seems evident that the site was abandoned in the mid-fourth century AD. There seems to be evidence for arable and pasteural farming thorugh palaeoenvironmental analysis of bulk samples from the ditches. The later linear features have very little to comment on, only that the field boundary established from the Roman farmstead defences continues into the medieval period, suggesting field division (Foundations Archaeology 2001).

3rd century coin hoard with a terminus post quem of 337 AD. This consisted of the following types: Constantinopolis, Gloria Exercitus, Sarmatia and Urbs Roma. There is also a commemorative coin to Helena (also dated to the same period). All coins are in good condition. 16 of the coins from the hoard are linked to the mint at Trier (Foundations Archaeology 2001).

After an evaluation conducted in 2001, the size of the site was discovered to be larger than originally thought, being larger than the norm for this period, pottery evidence showed that the area had been inhabited since the bronze age and after consideration CADW decided to schedule the site and preserve it 'in situ' for the public (Foundations Archaeology 2001).

A geophysical survey was carried out by the Countryside Planning & Management of GSB Prospection (E004464) which picked up the enclosure of the farmstead. Linear and curving high resistance anomalies were detected within the enclosure (GSB, 1999).

An evaluation carried out in 2000 by Foundations Archaeology revealed most of the enclosure with its ditches and gullies along with many fragments of pottery and bone. The earliest settlement date of the enclosure is from the Prehistoric leading right up to the Roman-British. It was recommended to preserve it in situ (Foundations Archaeology, 2000).

Sources :
Evans, E M , 2001 , Romano-British southeast Wales settlement survey: Final report ( © GGAT)
Foundations Archaeology , 2000 , Church Farm, Caldicot EVAL
Foundations Archaeology , 2001 , Church Farm, Caldicot : Archaeological Evaluation
GSB Prospection , 1999 , Geophysical Survey, Church farm, Caldicot.
Insole, P. , 1998 , Archaeological Evaluation at Church Farm, Caldicot, Gwent.
Insole, P. , 1998 , Archaeological Excavation of land at Church Farm, Church Road, Caldicot, Gwent
Johnson, A. E. , 1995 , Land at Church Farm, Caldicot, Gwent, Topsoil magnetic susceptibility and gradiometer survey
/Desc Text/BaRAS report-Archaeology in Wales/2000/40
/Desc Text/CADW/2006/Ancient monuments and archaeological areas act

Events :
E002168 : Church Farm, Caldicot EXCAV (year : 1997)
E000351 : Evaluation at Church Farm, Caldicot (year : 1997)
E004322 : Church Farm, Caldicot SUR (year : 1995)
E002573 : Church Farm, Caldicot EVAL (year : 2000)
E001657 : Romano-British Southeast Wales Settlement Survey (year : 1998-2001)
E004464 : Church farm, Caldicot SUR (year : 1999?)
E004584 : Church Farm, Caldicot EVAL (year : 2000)

Related PRNs :

Compiled date : 10-05-2002

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