Caerleon Net



Unnoficial Digs - Robbing Out

The Site Before Excavation

1909 - 1910 Digs

1926 Dig

King Arthur's Round Table?

The Caerleon Curse



Who Took The Photos of the 1909 Dig?

Photos of the 1926 Excavation

Photo of the 1926 Excavation Team

Superb Aerial Film - Multicopter View

Excavation of other Sites in Caerleon

Gladiators in Caerleon's Arena

The Amphitheatre flooded


History Index

Caerleon Net



The Roman Army In Caerleon King Arthur Parish Records Directories History Index Home

Caerleon Amphitheatre Flooded!

Caerleon Amphitheatre Flooded


A rare sight captured by a local in Autumn 2000. Shortly after the grass was cut, it rained and rained. The grass clippings blocked the drains and hey presto!

Now, this picture means a lot to me. When I was a lad I used to visit the amphitheatre with a school friend. We would scour the ruins, sure we could discover something that had previously gone un-noticed.

In those days there was a small building near the entrance to the grounds where visitors paid to enter (nowadays entry is free). From time to time a man in a smart uniform would appear from the hut and answer visitors' questions. We lads were never short of questions! We had heard that sometimes the Romans flooded amphitheatres and held mock sea battles in scaled down ships. We asked the curator if that ever happened here. He must have been having a bad day, or we'd caught him at a bad moment….

He pulled the suggestion to pieces. "Where would the water come from? The river?" The Roman Baths hadn't been excavated and we boys didn't know about the large quantities of water the Romans piped to Caerleon from miles away, so we agreed: "Yes the river." We were done for now… didn't we know water only flows downhill? How would the water flow uphill from the river? After laying it on thickly he walked away. Well, we have the last laugh because this picture shows it was possible!


  • The arena was (as it is now) below the level of the surrounding ground.
  • A large drain ran under the arena and out to the River Usk. (This is still functioning - when not blocked with grass!) It would have been an easy matter to cover the entrances to this drain.
  • Water was piped to Caerleon for the Baths, ablutions etc. Flooding the arena would have been an easy matter, it is considerably lower than the Roman Baths. Also it could have been drained in a very short time.