Discovering Carmarthenshire
AT A GLANCE

Follow the Romans

Follow the Romans Project

Y Pigwn

With the magic of modern technology you can step back roughly 2000 years and be guided around the marching camps at the Y Pigwn and Waun Ddu fortlet by Rory your guide and a feisty Roman solider called Primus. The free App, available on iOS and Android, features reconstruction animations of the camps, panoramic photographs and audio describing first hand experiences of life on campaign, how the Romans built their camps and why they found themselves in South Wales. It is recommended you download it via WiFi before your visit to due to unreliable mobile signal on site.

Garn Goch

Garn Goch

Discover the late Iron Age settlement of Garn Goch - second largest and surely one of the most spectacular of all Wales’ hillforts. Home to the Silures, a powerful and warlike tribe of ancient Britain, it dominates the Tywi Valley, a critical route for the early Roman conquest of this part of Wales. Why not download the leaflet to accompany your visit. Garn Goch is signposted from the village of Bethlehem which lies on the road between Llandeilo and Llangadog. To plan your visit, and download the App, please go to: breconbeacons.org/romans for more information.

Dolaucothi

Dolaucothi

Turn prospector in the only known Roman gold mine in Britain. Walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers who guarded this ancient site 2,000 years ago. Explore the underground workings of the Roman mines and understand more about the 1st Century mining technology that extracted gold from the hillsides of north Carmarthenshire. Wander through the beautiful and diverse habitat of the Cothi Valley, a gateway site to the incredible story of the 'Romans in Carmarthenshire'.

Open (Gold mines, shop & tearoom): Daily from March until October. To plan your visit please go to: nationaltrust.org.uk/dolaucothi-gold-mines - for more information including opening times & admission prices.

County Museum, Abergwili

County Museum, Abergwili

Leave the 21st century behind and discover Carmarthenshire’s Roman story. Our new displays explore the lives of Romans and natives, soldiers and civilians, on the edge of the Roman empire. Carmarthen owes them its name, but just how Roman were we? Learn why Carmarthen became an important town and tribal capital. Find out just a little more about what the Romans did for us. It may surprise you.

Open all year (closed over Christmas/New Year period). See our website for opening times: museums.carmarthenshire.gov.uk Free admission.

Carmarthen Town

Carmarthen Town

Carmarthen was amongst the military forts established by the Roman legions during the conquest. It was founded around AD75 but it was soon reduced in size and within a few generations had been abandoned. In its place, a large, walled town developed by the 3rd century AD. Moridunum, or the "Fort by the sea," is thought to have become the capital of Demetia, the land of the Demetae, as the native population adopted Romanised lifestyles.

Carmarthen is celebrated as the oldest continually occupied town in Wales and is proud of its Roman origins. A number of archaeological excavations have given glimpses into life in the Roman town. A temple site has been identified and several tradesmen’s workshops also uncovered.

The boundaries of the walled town can still be picked out in modern street patterns but the amphitheatre remains as the only visible Roman structure in the town. Most of the secrets of the Roman settlement remain buried beneath the modern town.

Amphitheatre Carmarthen

Amphitheatre Carmarthen

This amphitheatre is the only recognisable piece of Roman Carmarthen which survives above ground. It lies 250m to the northeast of the Roman town walls, alongside the main Roman road up the Tywi valley, and was probably in use during the 2nd century AD. The amphitheatre was a public place and religious ceremonies, processions, political events, fairs, markets and entertainments were held here.

For at least 1,500 years the amphitheatre lay forgotten and unrecognised. It was rediscovered in 1944, when the Carmarthen Borough Surveyor, George Ovens, took an interest in an oval hollow on land where a new housing estate was due to be built. He suggested it was a Roman amphitheatre and protected the site from the development.

In 1968 archaeological excavation by Professor Barri Jones finally proved that this was indeed a Roman amphitheatre. Further excavation in 1970, led by Carmarthen Museum Curator John Little, succeeded in revealing the wall around the arena and evidence for seating on the banks or cavea which surround it. Some reconstruction of these features has been undertaken based on the evidence found during these excavations.

  • Estimated seating capacity of 4,500 to 5,000 people.
  • One of only four Roman amphitheatres known in Wales.
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