Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Roman Sites & Museums in Wales

The Romans first entered Wales in AD 48, but they experienced considerable resistance from the local Celtic communities. The area that is modern Wales was not intensively conquered as was the case for southern and eastern England. By about 75 AD the Romans established a permanent military base in Caerleon, known then as Isca. For the Romans Wales was important for minerals, including lead, silver and gold. By the early 5th century AD, along with the rest of Roman Britain, Rome’s control over Wales came to an end. 

Roman Sites in Wales

Caerleon Amphitheatre

The modern town of Caerleon is built on the remains of a Roman legionary fortress and settlement that was known by the Latin name of Isca Silurum. Located on the edge of today’s town is the amphitheatre, a well preserved example built around 90 AD. Containing 8 entrances, it would have seated about 6,000 spectators eager to watch blood sports and gladiatorial combat. The 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth alleged that the amphitheatre, because of its shape, was King Arthur’s Round Table. Archaeologists excavated the amphitheatre in 1926.

Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths

Known at the time as Isca, the town of Caerleon was one of the major hubs for the Roman Army in Britain. Evidence for this can be found at the Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths, a heritage attraction managed by Cadw. Isca was one of just three permanent legionary fortresses in Roman Britain, and today boasts the only Roman barracks on public display anywhere in Europe. Also on show is the open-air swimming pool, or natatio, in which soldiers would have cleaned themselves, relaxed, and socialised.