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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Investigating a probable Roman villa near Aberystwyth





Abermagwr Project 2010
Investigating a probable Roman villa near Aberystwyth

What are archaeologists doing in Abermagwr this summer?
We think we have found a Roman villa buried beneath fields on the outskirts of Abermagwr. There are no Roman villas currently known in Ceredigion, and none this far north or west in Wales. We are carrying out a small excavation this summer to try to date the building.

When was an archaeological site found at Abermagwr?
Aerial archaeologists from Cambridge University, flying over Abermagwr in 1979, first saw green lines or ‘cropmarks’ in the fields caused by old buried ditches. In the summer of 2006 the Royal Commission overflew Abermagwr and saw cropmarks of a great double-ditched enclosure, with a stone building inside. A circular Iron Age farmstead was also discovered close by. Both sites lie a mile north of Trawsgoed Roman fort.

What do we know about the probable Roman villa?
In 2009 a magnetometry survey, like the ‘geofizz’ of the Time Team, was used to scan the field. It revealed the tell-tale floor plan of a building with stone foundations and two projecting wings, most likely to be a Roman villa.
Old Trawsgoed estate maps do not show any buildings on this site in the last 300 years, and its plan is unlike any medieval houses or churches. It is similar to excavated examples of ‘winged-corridor’ Roman villas in south Wales and England, built between AD 70 and AD 400. The building faces due south, maximising sunlight to the front corridor and rooms. A small room at the back could be a stoking room for a hypocaust – a system of central heating with floors raised up on pillars. We would expect this building to have been home to a wealthy farmer or landowner, at the centre of a large estate. The Abermagwr villa probably had a tiled roof and possibly even mosaic floors in the principal rooms, especially the dining-room. It sat within a large rectangular enclosure.

What excavations are planned?
Archaeologists are only planning a small-scale ‘evaluation’ exercise this year, just large enough to recover finds to date the building and, hopefully, show its relationship to the enclosing ditches. The main rooms of the villa will not be explored.  The dig is funded by the Cambrian Archaeological Association, with equipment loaned by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust. It is being directed by Dr Toby Driver of the Royal Commission based in Aberystwyth and Dr Jeffrey Davies, a Roman expert formerly with the Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University, who excavated at the nearby Trawsgoed Roman fort.

Can we visit the excavations?
The site is on private land, but the landowner has kindly allowed some local schools to visit the dig. People can visit the dig via a footbridge off the Abermagwr-Pontrhydygroes road while excavations are in progress in July, but there is no parking close to the site. We hope to keep the local paper updated and to give a public talk in the autumn to tell people what we have found.

How can I find out more?
The Abermagwr site can be found on the Royal Commissions’ online database, www.coflein.gov.uk . Search for ‘Abermagwr’ or ‘Nant Magwr Roman site’ in the Quick Search option. The Internet can be searched for ‘Trawsgoed Villa’ - there are lots of references and articles already online. Alternatively, contact Toby Driver on 01970  621207 or toby.driver@rcahmw.gov.uk

Further Abermagwr information
Abermagwr Link to Coflein



Prosiect Abermagwr 2010
Ymchwilio i fila Rufeinig debygol ger Aberystwyth

Beth mae archaeolegwyr yn ei wneud yn Abermagwr yr haf hwn?
Rydyn ni’n credu i ni ddod o hyd i fila Rufeinig o dan gaeau ar gyrion Abermagwr. Gan nad oes yr un fila Rufeinig yn hysbys yng Ngheredigion ar hyn o bryd, na’r un mor bell i’r gogledd a’r gorllewin â hyn yng Nghymru, fe wnawn ni ychydig o waith cloddio yno yn yr haf i geisio pennu dyddiad i’r adeilad.

Pryd y cafwyd hyd i safle archaeolegol yn Abermagwr?
Wrth hedfan dros Abermagwr ym 1979 y gwelodd archaeolegwyr-o’r-awyr o Brifysgol Caergrawnt linellau gwyrdd neu ‘ôl-gnydau’ yn y caeau gyntaf. Achoswyd y rheiny gan hen ffosydd a gawsai eu claddu. Yn ystod haf 2006, wrth hedfan dros Abermagwr, gwelodd y Comisiwn Brenhinol ôl-gnydau lloc mawr ac iddo ffos ddwbl, ac ynddo roedd adeiladau cerrig. Cafwyd hyd hefyd i fferm gron o’r Oes Haearn gerllaw. Mae’r ddau safle filltir i’r gogledd o gaer Rufeinig Trawsgoed.

Beth wyddon ni am y fila Rufeinig debygol?
Yn 2009 defnyddiwyd arolwg magnetometrig, tebyg i ‘geofizz’ y Time Team, i sganio’r cae. Dangosodd hwnnw gynllun llawr adeilad ac iddo sylfeini cerrig a dwy aden ymestynnol, sef fila Rufeinig, yn fwy na thebyg.
Does yr un o hen fapiau ystâd Trawsgoed yn dangos adeilad ar y safle hwn dros y 300 mlynedd diwethaf, ac mae ei gynllun yn wahanol i gynllun tai ac eglwysi’r Oesoedd Canol. Mae’r adeilad yn debyg i’r enghreifftiau o filâu Rhufeinig â ‘choridor adeiniog’ a godwyd rhwng OC70 ac OC400 ac sydd wedi’u cloddio yn ne Cymru ac yn Lloegr. Mae’r adeilad yn wynebu’n union tua’r de er mwyn i gymaint o heulwen â phosibl lifo i’r coridor a’r ffenestri blaen. Gallai ystafell fach yn y cefn fod yn ystafell dân i hypocawst, sef system gwresogi canolog lle mae’r lloriau wedi’u codi ar golofnau. Bydden ni’n disgwyl i’r adeilad fod wedi bod yn gartref i ffermwr neu dirfeddiannwr cyfoethog ac wedi’i godi ar ganol ystâd fawr. Mae’n fwy na thebyg i fila Abermagwr fod â tho teils a hyd yn oed loriau mosaig, efallai, yn y prif ystafelloedd, ac yn enwedig yn yr ystafell fwyta. Safai o fewn lloc mawr petryal.

Pa waith cloddio sydd ar y gweill?
Ymarfer ‘gwerthuso’ graddfa-fach yn unig sydd gan archaeolegwyr mewn golwg eleni, sef dim ond digon i allu dod o hyd i eitemau iddyn nhw allu rhoi dyddiad i’r adeilad a hefyd, gobeithio, i ddangos ei berthynas â’r ffosydd o’i amgylch. Fyddwn ni ddim yn ymchwilio i brif ystafelloedd y fila. Cymdeithas Hynafiaethau Cymru fydd yn ariannu’r cloddio a chawn ni’r offer ar fenthyg gan Ymddiriedolaeth Archaeolegol Dyfed. Dr Toby Driver o swyddfa’r Comisiwn Brenhinol yn Aberystwyth, a Dr Jeffrey Davies, arbenigwr ar y Rhufeiniaid, fydd yn cyfarwyddo’r gwaith. Arferai Dr Davies weithio yn Adran Hanes a Hanes Cymru ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth, ac ef gloddiodd y gaer Rufeinig yn Nhrawsgoed gerllaw.

Gawn ni ymweld â’r gwaith cloddio?
Er bod y safle ar dir preifat, mae perchennog y tir wedi bod yn ddigon caredig iawn i ganiatáu i rai ysgolion lleol ymweld â’r lle. Gall pobl ymweld ag ef drwy groesi pont droed oddi ar ffordd Abermagwr-Pont-rhyd-y-groes yn ystod y gwaith cloddio ym mis Gorffennaf, ond does dim lle parcio ger y safle. Rydyn ni’n gobeithio rhoi gwybod i’r papur lleol yn gyson am y datblygiadau, a rhoi anerchiad cyhoeddus yn yr hydref i sôn wrth y cyhoedd am ein darganfyddiadau ni yno.

Sut mae cael gwybod rhagor?
Gallwch chi ddod o hyd i safle Abermagwr ar gronfa ddata ar-lein y Comisiwn Brenhinol, www.coflein.gov.uk . Dewiswch Chwiliad Cyflym a chwiliwch am ‘Abermagwr’ neu safle Rhufeinig ‘Nant Magwr’. Gallwch chi chwilio’r we am ‘Trawsgoed Villa’ - mae peth wmbredd o gyfeiriadau ac erthyglau arni ar-lein eisoes. Dewis arall yw ffonio Toby Driver ar 01970  621207 neu anfon e-bost ato i toby.driver@cbhc.gov.uk

Further Abermagwr information
Abermagwr Link to Coflein

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Heritage of Wales Blogger said...

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pattaya villas said...

It would be great if there is really a villa buried there. I hope you will be able to find some artifacts and artworks. I wonder what happened to the place for that villa to be buried that deep.

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