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LLANTWIT MAJOR Glamorgan, Wales.

Roman villa at Caermead, 1 km NW of the village, discovered in 1887 and excavated in 1887-88, 1938-39, and 1948. The buildings were grouped around a courtyard (ca. 30 x 36 m) and an outer yard (ca. 24 x 51 m) which opened off it and extended N to form an L-shaped enclosure. The dwelling house was of winged-corridor plan (36 x 12 m) forming the N side of the courtyard, with the W wing extended to form its W side. The S side of the courtyard proper was bounded only by a wall, and the E side was open to the outer yard. This outer yard was bounded on the S by an aisled building (30 x 15 m) and on the E by further ranges of buildings, while more small buildings again extended from the rear of the E end of the dwelling house to form its NW corner. Traces of earthworks were found enclosing the whole complex.

The excavations appeared to show that all the main buildings were constructed about the middle of the 2d c. and that the villa reached its greatest prosperity in the 3d c., after which the house and baths were abandoned and occupation was restricted to the aisled building until the end of the 4th c. It was, then, the occupants of the aisled building who, becoming Christianized, used the area of the abandoned buildings as a cemetery (the graves in this cemetery were oriented and devoid of grave goods and so presumably Christian). Reconsideration of the pottery and the sections, however, has suggested that the earlier chronology should be revised, and selective excavation in 1971 has led to further re-evaluation. The probable sequence now appears to be: a pre-Roman homestead in a ditched enclosure; an early Roman timber building (late 1st-early 2d c.); a stone building without corridor (mid-late 2d c.); decline in the early 3d c.; extensive building in the mid 3d c., with additions ca. 300 and the insertion of a mosaic ca. 350; gradual decline in the late 4th c.; and burials much later, not associated with any occupants of the villa.


W. E. Winks, Archaeologia Cambrensis 5 (1888) 413-17; V. E. Nash-Williams, ibid. 102 (1953) 89-163MIP; revision: G. Webster in A.L.F. Rivet, ed., The Roman Villa in Britain (1969) 238-43; Britannia 3 (1972) 300; RCAHM (Wales): Glamorganshire (forthcoming).


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