MORE ROMAN FINDS AT WYLFA
EVIDENCE OF ROMAN LIFE FOUND ON ONE OF BIGGEST ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGS IN EUROPE – NEAR CEMAES
EVIDENCE of a Roman-British settlement have been found by experts who are studying one of Europe’s biggest archaeolgical digs on Anglesey.
For the past few months, experts have been digging at a site that’s hoped will house the multi-billion pound Wylfa Newydd development, near Cemaes.
The excavations of a 100,000 square-metre site have included removing the soil from each of the investigation areas, allowing both professionals and amateur archaeologists from the community to record their findings.
But according to senior archaeologists, of which there are 60 on site, they have gathered so far suggests evidence of RomanoBritish settlements in northern Anglesey, dating sometime between 43 and 410 AD.
Despite a more militarised Roman fortlet being discovered at nearby Cemlyn Bay in 2015, this represents one of the first Roman settlements discovered in northern Anglesey.
The earliest evidence for human activity on the island dates from the Mesolithic period (7000-4000 BC) but there’s been little evidence of widespread Romanisation, with most of Roman sites and roads appearing in the southern portion.
There’s long been talk of Roman-era mining at Mynydd Parys, but no physical evidence has yet been uncovered.
Ashley Batten, Senior Planning Archaeologist at Gwynedd Archaeological Planning, said: “We’re still digging at the moment, so expect to find out a lot more over the coming weeks and months.
“But we’re quite certain that this settlement is Romano-British in its nature, from the first, second, third century, with clear evidence of ditches and drains.
“There were people living here and its also clear the site had been deliberately chosen due to the topography of the land, as its relatively sheltered, but also enjoying access to the sea.
“The fact there were ditches here doesn’t necessarily suggest it was to provide defence, how- ever, as it’s just as likely they were just a status symbol at the time.”
He added: “There haven’t been many digs of this scale that have been carried out on Anglesey in the past, so I’m sure there are more of these, but this certianly remains quite rare.”
The main archaeologists on the site are Wessex Archaeolgists and a partnership of Ruthin-based Jones Bros and Balfour Beatty.
Elsewhere on the vast site, evidence has also been uncovered of a wooden henge – a prehistoric monument consisting of a circle of stone or wooden uprights – dating back to the Neolithic period or Roman Iron Age, as well as flakes of flint which are said to be as old as 3,000 BC.
According to Horizon, carrying out this work now has been a vital – and mandatory – part of securing planning permission for Wylfa Newydd, needing to be undertaken now to ensure the forthcoming construction phase won’t be disrupted.
Once the digs have been completeted, and the information safely recorded, Horizon plans to restore the land to its original condition.
“This is the largest archaelogical investigation across the United Kingdom, possibly across Europe,” said Horizon’s Richard Foxhall. “We’re doing it now rather than wait until we get permission to actually build the power station to make sure we don’t have any unexpected surprises.
“We’re not really expecting to find anything of national significance, but you never know.
“Therefore, it’s much easier for us to find it now, when we can do something about it, as opposed to during the construction itself which could delay construction of the project.
“We’ve also taken the opportunity to have a community days, which have been very popular, and allow local people to find out more about the work that we do.”