Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Tilly's Wall

One of the local attractions Tilly likes to visit is the Roman city of Venta Silurium at Caerwent and since it is one of those places that drains quickly after wet weather it seemed like a good place to go for our morning walk today.

Much of the old city has been built on top of, but fortunately some of the ancient stonework has been revealed and the site has many interesting features including a rather impressive manor house with courtyards.

Manor House & Courtyards
You can get an idea of the scale of this building from the 4 bed-roomed cottage in the background. Obviously whoever lived here was a person of some standing. Several of the rooms still show the remains of the hypocaust.

Living-space Hyocaust
Venta Siluriu also features an early shopping mall, several smaller dwellings, a forum with adjacent basilica and a Romano Celtic temple.

The Basilica

The Forum
No-one seems to know who the temple was dedicated to although some think the original Roman construction was a Temple to Mars.

Temple of Mars?
Alternative thinking says the temple was really dedicated to the Celtic God Ocelus.

Temple of Ocelus?
Christian worship was certainly taking place here in the 3rd century, so it is possible the temple was dedicated to various deities over a period of time.

Perhaps the most impressive structure at Caerwent is the Roman city wall, much of which is still standing and can be walked around and along the top of.

Tilly's Wall
Given the number of mice, moles, rats and voles that live in and around the wall this is definitely Tilly's favourite part of the tour. With nothing to stop her running free she can sniff and explore to her heart's content.

City Wall adjacent the West Gate
The height of the wall varies, many of the original stones having been removed over the years to provide building materials for cottages and houses. It is a massive construction though with faced stone encapsulating a rough stone build some 2 to 3 metres wide at the base. One thing is certain, in its hey-day the city wall at Venta Silurium would have been far more impressive and indeed more formidable than it appears now.

City Wall looking towards the South Gate