NGRef: SH8731
OSMap: LR124/125, OL18
Type: Minor Settlement, Fort
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Plan of Caer Gai Fort
(Sourced from Haverfield, 1910)
Roads
SW (11) to Brithdir (Gwynedd)
NE (5) to Llanfor (Gwynedd)
Margary 66b: SW (2.5) to Rhyd Sarn

The Caer Gai Roman Fort

N.G.REF DIMENSIONS AREA
SH877314 c.420 x 420 ft
(c.128 x 128 m)
c.4½ acres
(c.1.7 ha)

Located on a spur in the valley of the Dee (Afon Dyfrdwy) overlooking the river from its north bank, the Caergai fort is square in plan, each side measuring about 420 feet (c.128m), and covers an area of 4½ acres (1.7 ha). The fort was furnished with timber buildings never rebuilt in stone and was occupied from c.75AD until c.130. The Caergai farmhouse occupies the north corner of the fort and has destroyed most of the north corner-angle. A spring which probably served the Roman soldiers lies about 200 feet outside the western corner-angle.

In 1865 a number of urns of coarse grey ware were uncovered in the field named Cae Dentir to the immediate north-east of the fort, each of which contained the ashes and burnt bones of human cremations. In this same field in 1885 the foundations of a small (9 x 9 ft) square timber building were uncovered, in the centre of which was square pit containing sherds of samian pottery and other decorated wares. Lying on its side over the foundation trench of this building was a block of red sandstone measuring 30 x 23 x 10 inches (c.76 x 58 x 25 cm) and bearing the only Latin inscription to be found on the site, fortunately naming one of the occupying regiments (vide RIB 418 infra).

Cohors Primae Nerviorum - The First Cohort of Nervii

IVLIVS GAVERONIS F FE MIL CHO I NER

"Julius the son of Gavero, ironsmith¹ and soldier of the First Cohort of Nervians."

(RIB 418; votive panel reused as tombstone)

  1. Based on the expansion FE[rrarius faber], 'worker of iron'; which may equally be FE[rentarius], 'lightly-armed soldier', or one of any number of alternatives.

There are two Roman practice works nearby at Rhyd Sarn (SH8527).

See: Military Aspects of Roman Wales by Prof. F. Haverfield (London 1910; pp.43-46);
Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1958-1960 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. li (1961) p.130;
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1973-76 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxvii (1977) p.151;
All translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.