Caerleon: official guidebooks

Caerleon_MoW

1950 (1962)

(Sir) Mortimer Wheeler and Tessa Wheeler prepared the first official guide to the Roman amphitheatre outside the legionary fortress at Caerleon (Isca Silurum) in 1935. The couple had excavated on the site in 1926–27. This guide reappeared as the Ministry of Works paper guide in 1950. It contains the sections:

  1. Caerleon in Legend and History
  2. The Amphitheatre

A plan appears on one of the middle pages. There is a note about the legionary barrack-blocks in Prysg Field (also in State Guardianship).

caerleon_doe

1970 (1973)

This simple guide was expanded into the ‘blue’ guide with a contributions by Dr V.E. Nash Williams. This is divided into the following sections:

  1. Caerleon in legend and history
  2. The amphitheatre
  3. The Prysg Field barrack-buildings
  4. Caerllion [short summary in Welsh]

Two fold-out plans appear inside the back cover. The first two sections are essentially the same text as the 1950 guide by Wheeler; Williams contributed the discussion of the barrack-buildings.

The DOE guide has a different bilingual title inside:
Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre and Barrack Buildings
Theatre Gron Rufeinig Caerllion a Llety’r Milwyr

Caerleon_Welsh_Office

1970 (4th impress. 1980)

The Welsh Office / Y Swyddfa Gymreig produced the Official Handbook / Llawlyfr Swyddogol (blue guide) in 1980. Welsh was used on the cover, and inside the guide uses the bilingual titles that were used in the original blue guide.

The main difference is that there is an extended guide in Welsh with sections mirroring the English section: Hanes; Theatr Gron; Disgrifiad.

Caerleon_Cadw

1988

Jeremy K. Knight prepared the new Cadw guide (1988). There was a move away from it being a guide to the amphitheatre to the legionary fortress. The guide was organised in the following sections:

  • In search of Isca
  • The legion and its fortress
  • The foundation of Isca
  • The layout of the fortress
  • The Second Legion and the occupation of Caerleon

 

This was followed by a tour guide, starting with the fortress baths, followed by the amphitheatre, defences and barracks.

A fold-out plan is printed inside the rear card cover.

There is a single page summary in Welsh (Hanes; Disgrifaid).

Caerleon_Cadw_large

2003 (3rd ed.)

Knight prepared the 3rd edition (2003) in the new large format of Cadw guides. A fold-out bird’s eye view was printed inside the front card cover, and a plan inside the back cover. It is divided into two main sections: a history of Roman Isca; a tour of Roman Isca. It contained a feature on ‘Outside the walls: the civilian settlements’.

 

Caerleon: amphitheatre

caerleon9

Caerleon amphitheatre © David Gill

The amphitheatre is located outside the Roman legionary fortress at Isca Silurum (Caerleon). It was probably constructed c. AD 90.  The buttresses supporting the banks can be  clearly seen around the southern entrance that provided one of the two main access points to the arena.

The amphitheatre was excavated by (Sir) Mortimer Wheeler, who also wrote the original Ministry guidebook.

The amphitheatre is in the care of Cadw.

London: Roman Amphitheatre

Amphitheatre_0109

London, Roman Amphitheatre © David Gill

The amphitheatre of Londinium lies in the north-west of the Roman town. It was discovered near to the Guildhall in the City of London in 1988 as part of the development of the area prior to the creation of the new Guildhall Art Gallery.

The amphitheatre appears to date to c. AD 74 or 75 based on dendrochronology. One of the timbers from the seating had Latin markings. The structure was adapted in the 90s, and expanded, in stone, during the reign of the emperor Hadrian.

Some of the remains have been preserved (and scheduled) in the basement of the Art Gallery. Visitors enter from the east through the main entrance. The sense of space has been recreated by lit displays.

London_amphi_cov

2011

See here for an earlier guide to the remains of Roman London.

Roman Sites and English Heritage

IMG_4354_Walltown

Walltown Crags, Hadrian’s Wall © David Gill

Hadrian’s Wall and Stanegate

Stanegate

Roman Forts

Saxon Shore Forts

Roman Towns

Roman Villas

Roman Temples

Other features

DOE Guide: Chester

Image

The Department of the Environment also published a series of paper guides such as that for The Roman Amphiteatre at Chester by F.H. Thompson (reprinted 1972; cost 2 1/2 pence). Therewere seven pages of text, and a double page plan of the amphitheatre (although more than half was unexcavated).

The sections included an introduction (to amphitheatres in the Roman Empire), the discovery of the Chester amphitheatre (in 1929), the excavation and its results, and problems of excavation and conservation.

The guide also pointed out issues relating to the modern drainage for the site.