Excavation of the Myrtle Cottage Site 1939

To get our bearings… Nowadays the road through Myrtle Cottages occupies the position of the trench being excavated above. A house on Mill Street can just be seen in the top right hand corner, just to the left of that is Prospect House.

This two acre site prior to 1939 was a pasture field with ancient apple trees dotted around. In the Spring of 1939 a decision was made to excavate the site as it was to be used for building houses. Caerleon being the only example of a legionary fortress not almost completely built over, an opportunity like this was not to be wasted. The excavations took the form of eight trenches, in addition three sections of buildings were completely uncovered.

Nine barrack buildings (similar to the ones in Prysg Field) and the outer defences of the North East corner of the fort were located. The most spectacular find was a hoard of five gold coins dating from 55 to 74 AD. These coins were found in the 'early occupation layer' underlying the stone barracks - almost certainly lost or hidden in the first few years of occupation.

The excavations were completed by July, just two months before World War II began.

Caerleon Net