Excavations at Arddleen Romano-British Enclosure
CPAT has recently completed the final phase of excavations on the site of the Romano-British enclosure at Arddleen, Powys, in advance of housing development.
Right: Excavations at Arddleen in October 2002 © CPAT cs02-15-02
The site was first identified from aerial reconnaissance as a cropmark showing two curving ditches which would have defended an Iron Age farmstead. Rescue excavations were undertaken on the site by CPAT in 1979 before the construction of the Arddleen by-pass, which cut across the eastern site of the site. The results from these excavations revealed how substantial the ditches were, each being around 4m wide and 1.5m deep. There was, however, little evidence for buildings inside the enclosure, although only a small part of the area was investigated.
The first phase of excavations in 2002 concentrated on the area outside the enclosure and have revealed a number of archaeological features, most of which relate to medieval and post-medieval field systems, as well as an old trackway. An interesting assemblage of pottery has been collected and more is promised from the next phase.
Left: Excavations at Arddleen in May 2003 © CPAT 03-c-377
The excavations resumed in May 2003 with work focusing on the interior of the enclosure and the defensive ditches. Over a period of three months the surviving area of the interior was fully excavated, revealing evidence for a number of structures, including a small round house. A significant quantity of Romano-British pottery was recovered from the excavations, along with other finds including a bronze coin, and a brooch.
Two sections were excavated across the defensive ditches, which revealed both the inner and outer ditch to be considerably larger than had been previously thought. The inner ditch was V-shaped with a slot in the base and measured around 5.1m wide and 2.75m deep. The outer ditch was U-shaped with steeply-sloping sides, measuring around 4.7m wide and 2.5m deep. Only a few finds were recovered from the ditch sections, although significant quantities of charcoal were retrieved for radiocarbon dating, together with bulk soil samples which will hopefully provide palaeoenvironmental evidence.
Right: Round house drainage gully within the enclosure © CPAT cs03-44-25
A full programme of post-excavation analysis is now underway which will include specialist examination of the finds and samples. It is hoped that the studies will be completed by April 2004, with the submission of a full excavation report to an appropriate journal.
Nigel Jones, August 2003
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