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The Hindwell Roman Vicus


 CPAT 2012

As part of the continuing investigation of Roman civilian sites, or vici, trial excavations were undertaken in late February/early March 2012 to investigate the vicus next to the fort at Hindwell in Powys, with grant aid from Cadw.

Right: Plan of the Hindwell Roman Vicus settlement from geophysical survey and aerial photographic mapping. CPAT 2012

The presence of a civilian settlement on the eastern side of the fort was first recognised through geophysical survey in 1998, and was subject to further survey by CPAT in 2010. The excavations, which were undertaken in February/March 2012, focused on the eastern extent of the vicus, investigating part of the settlement, the Roman road and part of a triple ditch system.

Present knowledge suggests that the vicus is focused on the road leading from the east gate, with indications of buildings and ancillary activity spreading out for about 30m on either side of the road and defined, at least on the south side, by a narrow, V-shaped ditch. The vicus continues for about 160m beyond the fort defences, occupying an area of around 0.7ha. The recent excavations identified several pits within an area which may be presumed to lie behind roadside structures, evidence from which indicated the presence of smithing activity within the immediate vicinity. A preliminary examination of the pottery indicates the presence of some earlier pottery, possibly of Neronian date, but an absence of later Roman material.

 CPAT 2012, photonumber 3433-0127. Hindwell Vicus

Left: Excavations in trench 2 with the large rubbish pit in the foreground and the boundary ditch along the southern side of the vicus behind CPAT 2012, photo 3433-0127

The eastward extent of the vicus appears to by bounded by a system of triple ditches which respect the Roman road. An investigation of the innermost ditch has shown it to be around 2.65m wide and 1.2m deep and although there was no evidence to suggest the position of an accompanying ditch it may be presumed to have been on the interior, given the generally punic profile of the ditch. At present the only dating evidence is a probable Neronian Gallo-Belgic butt-beaker, perhaps indicating that the ditch system is associated with the fort itself, possibly as an outwork, rather than providing a deliberate defence for the vicus. In the light of the excavated evidence a re-examination of the geophysical survey results shows a number of possible post-holes along the edge of the Roman road, suggesting a possible four- or six-posted gateway set inside the innermost ditch.

 CPAT 2012, photo 3433-0140. Hindwell Vicus

Right: Trench 3 with the innermost of the triple ditches in the foreground CPAT 2012, photo 3433-0140


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