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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 10:19 GMT
Roman remains may halt rugby centre plan
The centre site is close to the only Roman amphitheatre in Wales

Inspectors from ancient monuments body CADW have been called in to assess possible Roman remains found at the site of a proposed Rugby Centre of Excellence in south Wales.

The site is close to Caerleon which was a major Roman garrison town from 75 AD until the third century AD. It is also the site of the only Roman amphitheatre in Wales.

Residents living near the proposed rugby centre site say a major discovery would scupper plans by the Welsh Rugby Union to develop the land near Newport.

Remains clearly visible

The archaeological dig on the banks of the River Usk is far from finished, but residents said the remains of what look like a Roman road and house are clearly visible.

Historian Howard Pell said buildings which had been constructed using tombstones from the town's Roman garrison were found in an adjoining field in the early 1800's.

He said if any turn up on this site it would be of international significance.

Local people, opposed to the rugby centre of excellence being built, have asked Cadw to assess the finds.

Funding withdrawn

The dig is being carried out as part of the planning application to develop the site, but the landowners, the Celtic Manor Resort, said it was too soon to speculate on what has been found.

This is the latest obstacle to hit the plans for the rugby centre.

The Sportlot Lottery organisation withdrew its support in principle for the scheme earlier in the year.

The Lottery body had earlier agreed to earmark 1.7m to build on land owned by Welsh billionaire Terry Matthews.

It pulled out because the WRU failed to get planning permission by the agreed date.


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See also:
01 Jul 99 |  UK
Centre of excellence's bitter blow

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