Caerleon is built on the remains of a Roman legionary fortress and settlement that was known as Isca Silurum. Located on the edge of today’s town is the amphitheatre, a well preserved example with 8 entrances that seated about 6,000 spectators. Local folkore claims that the amphitheatre, because of its shape, was King Arthur’s Round Table. Built in about 90 AD, the amphitheatre was excavated in 1926.
The now ruined Norman Ogmore Castle was erected by William de Londres on the foundations of earthworks that are thought to pre-date the Norman Conquest. de Londres was one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan, and was granted the castle by Robert Fitzhamon, the Norman conqueror of Glamorgan. The keep is the castle’s tallest surviving structure, and one of the oldest buildings in South Wales.
Caerleon is situated on what is one of the most interesting Roman archaeological sites in Britain and Europe. In 75 AD a Legionary Fortress, one of three built in Roman Britain, was constructed here to defend the westernmost point of the Roman Empire. Today the town boasts the most extensive remains of Roman barracks anywhere in Europe, while the amphitheatre is the only one in Britain to have been fully excavated.
Tinkinswood Burial Chamber is a typical Cotswold-Severn Neolithic tomb – where a dolmen would have been covered by a trapezoidal shaped mound. Much of the mound has long since eroded away revealing the stones that make up the chamber or dolmen. The cap stone, estimated to be about 40 tons – measuring 7.3 by 4.3 m, is thought to one of the largest in Britain.
The National Museum Cardiff covers everything from the natural, geological and palaeontological histories of Wales to the archaeological and more recent pasts. In the archaeological and historical collections there are close on 1 million objects that relate to life in Wales, from artefacts excavated in cave deposits that date to Palaeolithic times around 230,000 years ago to the Industrial Revolution.