Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 16:48 UK

'Stylish' Roman life found on dig

Artefacts
All the artefacts will go to the National Museum of Wales

The "stylish" lives of the affluent have been unearthed at one of the "best preserved" Roman towns in Britain by a TV archaeology team.

A bath house, villa and artefacts including a penknife were found at Caerwent, Monmouthshire by Channel 4's Time Team.

What are believed to be shop buildings on a Roman high street were also found during the dig by a team of 50.

Presented by Tony Robinson, the episode will be broadcast early next year.

The three-day excavation at the Roman site, close to the modern day village, involved Wessex Archaeology and volunteers from the local Chepstow Archaeology Society.

Seven different trenches were dug up at three different locations, aimed to uncover more about parts of the town which had previously never been excavated.

A temple, baths and forum in the centre of town and another plot in the north west were discovered.

Long thin buildings were also found in several places, believed to be shop buildings on the high street.

'Beautifully preserved'

In the north of the town, what is believed to be a Roman villa was unearthed which the team believed had painted walls and mosaic on the floor showing that wealthy people lived in the suburbs.

Nearby, a bath house was discovered, possibly belonging to the villa.

The penknife's hilt was made out of bone depicting two gladiators fighting was unearthed.

Other artefacts uncovered included coins, glass, ceramics, human and animal bones, lead patches used for repairing and bits of mosaic.

Archaeologists will now reinstate the earth and cover up all the walls and all finds will go to the National Museum of Wales and an archaeological report will be published.

Archaeologist Phil Harding (left) with Tony Robinson during the dig
Archaeologist Phil Harding (left) with Tony Robinson during the dig

Presenter Tony Robinson said it was " real big deal" for the programme to be allowed to dig there "as it's a special heritage site and now a part of the Cadw jewellery box."

Tom Scott, another member of the team, said: "The site appealed to us as it is one of the best preserved Roman towns in the UK and this was a golden opportunity for us to find out more about it.

"This type of town, a 'civitas capital' [civilian town and centre of local Roman government] is one of around 15 in the UK. Most of these had later towns built on top so you can't see the town walls, but Caerwent is beautifully preserved," he added.

"To be able to see the town walls on the south side - up to four metres high - is amazing, definitely the best in the country. This heritage site is extremely important and that's why it is so heavily protected.

"We've discovered some interesting things and originally we didn't know people lived all over the town - especially in the north west part - but, discovering the villa and bath house, it seems as if they did - and in some style too," Mr Scott said.




SEE ALSO
Team excavates Roman 'warehouse'
16 Jun 08 |  South East Wales
Reward wait after Roman coin find
26 Jul 07 |  South East Wales

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