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CAERSWS (“Mediolanum”) Montgomeryshire, Wales.

Roman military center in the upper Severn valley, pivot of the road system controlling central Wales. The Ravenna Cosmography implies that its name was Mediolanum (place in the middle of the plain), a suitable description. The importance of the site is shown by the size of the successive forts based there. The first of these has recently been located on a low hill 1 km E of the present village. Over 3.6 ha in size, it is by implication pre-Flavian in date. This is because the second fort, long known to lie at the N end of the village, has produced evidence of continuous occupation from A.D. 75 when Wales was finally subjugated. The 2.8 ha fort platform can readily be recognized and is comparable in size to other large sites like the Forden Gaer and the Brecon Gaer.

A considerable vicus extended beneath the modern village to the S. A bath house lies beneath the present railway line to the W. Excavations early in this century showed that the central range of buildings in the later occupation were built of stone, while the barracks were of timber. Recent excavation showed that the defenses were of three periods. The original Flavian rampart was widened at the end of the 1st c. and did not receive a stone revetment until the middle of the 2d c.; all these changes are associated with rebuilding in the interior. The praetorium was enhanced by the addition of three rooms with hypocausts in the 3d c., and indications of continued occupation in the 4th c. have been found in both the central range and the vicus.


F. N. Pryce, Montgomeryshire Collections 46 (1940) 67ff; C. M. Daniels et al., “Excavations at Caersws,” ibid. 59 (1965) 112; 60 (1966) 1ffI; G.D.B. Jones, The Roman Frontier in Wales (1969) 66ffMP.


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