Caerleon was known to the Romans as Isca and the fortress there was the headquarters of the Second Augustan Legion - part of the invasion force that crossed the English Channel in AD 43 which would later spend a generation fighting against the fierce Celtic tribes of Wales. Legionaries were Roman citizen soldiers, heavily armoured and highly disciplined, who enlisted for up to 25 years. The backbone of the army and builders of the Roman Empire, legionaries were conquerors, builders and colonists.
Caerleon is one of only three permanent legionary fortresses in Britain. The others at Chester and York are much more difficult to excavate because their remains are mostly buried under medieval and modern cities. Therefore, Caerleon provides a unique opportunity to study the Roman legions in Britain.
Sam Steele an undergraduate archaeologist in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion was one of the students involved in the discovery
The serendipity of discovery
Students from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion were learning how to use geophysical equipment in fields outside the fortress during the Easter break when they unexpectedly made their remarkable discovery. This part of Caerleon was not thought to have been extensively occupied in the Roman period, but the students and their tutors revealed the outlines of a series of huge buildings located outside Caerleon’s famous amphitheatre and the River Usk.
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