Roman Frontiers in Wales and the Marches

Roman Frontiers in Wales and the Marches

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From the mid-first century AD to the end of the fourth century or later the tribal peoples inhabiting Wales and its borderlands felt the full impact of the might of the Roman imperial army, both as a fighting force and an occupation garrison.

In the pre-Flavian period Wales was a frontier zone par excellence. With the Flavian conquest it was held in subjection by a huge garrison, typical for a newly conquered land at the edge of empire. By Hadrian’s reign, however, the garrison had been massively reduced and, except for the legions, functioned as an internal security force. Frontier characteristics re-emerge in the AD 260s as the western littoral of the empire was threatened from without; this theme of constant pressure on the frontier continued to the end of and beyond the formal military presence in the region.

This book describes and analyses the remains of the Roman army’s presence in Wales, with the exception of the ephemeral marching- and practice-camps dealt with in another volume. It is divided into two parts. The first contains a series of discursive chapters dealing with the history of military activity, followed by analyses of installations, communication systems, extramural settlements and discussions of the army’s impact on the environment and the native economy.

The second part is a comprehensive gazetteer of known, probable and possible military sites and Roman roads.


  • List of contributors
  • Chairman’s preface
  • Editorial Note
  • Acknowledgements


  • History of previous excavation and research
  • The pre-Roman background
  • Chronological issues
  • Epigraphy
  • Coins from Roman Frontier in Wales, P. Guest
  • Pottery, chronology and the forts of Roman Wales, P.V. Webster

A Chronological review of the development of the frontier

  • Early campaigning and pre-Flavian frontiers
  • The Flavian conquest
  • The 2nd- to 3rd-century garrison
  • The frontiers of the later 3rd and 4th century
  • The end of the Roman Army in Wales and the Marches, P.J. Casey

The installations and their garrisons

  • Distribution
  • Siting
  • Morphology, size and internal plan
  • Defences
  • Annexes
  • Internal buildings
  • Parade grounds
  • Water supply
  • The logistics of construction
  • The garrison

The communication system

  • Roman Roads in Wales and the Marches, R.J. Silvester and H. Toller
  • Shipping, E.M. Evans, D. Hopewell, D.J.P Mason, K. Murphy, O.T.P. Roberts and R.J. Silvester

The military-civilian interface: extramural settlements and sites with military associations

  • Introduction
  • Planning and layout
  • Buildings
  • Economic activity
  • Specialised activities
  • Religious beliefs
  • Cemeteries and burial practices
  • Chronological issues

The military-civilian interface: aspects of the military community, the military impact on the environment and economy, and army supply

  • Introduction
  • The military community and local interaction
  • The military impact on the environment and economy, A.E. Caseldine, with contributions by JLD
  • Military supply: the contribution of ceramic studies, P.V. Webster

Gazetteer of Sites

  • Legionary Fortresses
  • Campaign bases/Forts
  • Fortlets
  • Watch-towers/signal stations
  • Sites with probable military associations
  • Sites with possible military associations
  • Problematical/Rejected sites

Gazetteer of Roads
E.M. Evans, D. Hopewell, K. Murphy, R.J. Silvester and H. Toller

  • Glossary of Terms
  • Ancient Sources and Bibliography
  • Index


Author Barry C. Burnham, Jeffrey L. Davies, 2010
Cover Hardback
Size 219 x 276mm
Pages 380
Illustrations 260
ISBN 9781871184396