« PreviousContinue »
(d) Roman roads varied in character as may be learnt from Mr. Codrington's book, and that on the same subject-by Messrs. Forbes and Burmester— both which any future investigators into the extremely interesting matter of Roman roads would do well to master. The great trunk roads (militaria), the subsidiary military roads (limites), ways and lanes, should be understood; these last divided into L. Actuarii, 20 ft. to 24 ft. broad, and L. Liuarii, about 8 ft. to 10 ft. or more, as needed. Ffordd Las, and the rest of the track worked out, answers to such description. Other roads of different titles need no present comment, though the whole country is a network of traditional Roman roads.
It may be assumed with confidence that the course sketched on the map was made out and used by the Romans during their occupation, and that the track was traversed to and fro by Suetonius and Agricola a little piece of sentimentality that is, perhaps, permissible!
The work done could not possibly have been accomplished in the nine hours devoted to it but for the generous assistance and co-operation of Lord Aberconway and his son, to whom sincere thanks are due.
Further investigations will be proceeded with whenever possible. Indeed, many routes have already been walked over and points marked down. Much hope is felt that Milliaria (mile stones), or boulders frequently used in default of cylindrical or squared stones, may yet be found, the former to add to the Milliaria of the reigns of Hadrian and Septimius Severus, now in the British Museum. Additional papers will be submitted on completion of any important section, and though the assumed position of Varae is outside the area chosen by The Nant Conwy Antiquarian Society as their special ground for research, it is intended to spend some time in the neighbourhood of Denbigh and St. Asaph to endeavour to determine that place, but only
after establishing the route further backward from Llangerniew.
The location of ruins of such stations as mansiones,
mutationes, and the various Inn names used by Romans, have to be looked for in field and place names, now unintelligible to Welshmen, or indeed most men of any nationality. They are not infrequent, and show that the Roman occupation was extended.
Place names have a certain confirmatory valuesuch as Gwaedllyd-the name of a field (the bloody field) near Ffrith Ivan on Ffordd Las, and in the same district Pen y Fyddin, which may mean an ambush-a troop or an army.
The accompanying illustration of this cylindrical stone, now in the British Museum, will give interest. It was found at Rhiwan, Llanfairfechan, North Wales, buried in a field adjoining the lane. adjoining the lane. It is about 6 ft. 9 in. long, with a diameter of 19 in., tapering to 161⁄2 in. at the top, bearing incised Roman letters 24 in. to 2 in. in size.
IMP. CAES. TRAI
PP. COS III
This stone, of the third year of the Emperor Trajan (119 A.D.) is one of the earliest known examples of Milliaria found in Britain, and gives the distance from the spot where it was found to Kanovium, as 8000 paces-about the exact length of the road.
Curiously another, but broken milestone of the time of Septimius Severus and Marcus Aurelius, towards the end of the second century A.D., was subsequently found only 10 yards away. Such stones are of great archæological interest, and, seeing how Wales is covered by a net-work of Roman roads and tracks, there should be others in existence-broken and mutilated perhapsthat have escaped the vandal house and wall-builders; so far, only ten Milliaria have been found in Wales.
PREHISTORIC REMAINS, LLANBEDR,
THERE are at present in existence near Llanbedr, in Merionethshire, numerous prehistoric remains lying between the hills on the east and the sea on the west. Among these the most numerous are the series of circular heaps of stones, of which there are four or five groups not so very far from the village. For our present purpose let us consider three.
The most southerly, and most extensive group, lies a few hundred yards or so west of the old road to Dolgelly, in a field
called Bwlch y Cae, on the top of a hill overlooking the village which is about a mile away. The heaps continue at intervals nearly as far as a farm called Bron y Foel. In close proximity is a ruined dolmen and two solitary menhirs. There are also further groups of stones higher up on the hillside.
The second group, which the owner, Mr. Griffith, kindly permitted me to examine, is on the top of a tiny hillock above Plas Gwynfryn, and the third on the heights between Llanfair and Harlech.
To discuss the first group. We were first attracted to explore them partly by their general appearance and partly by the expressions of the farmer of the land, who suggested that they were very, very old," and hinted darkly at little
people. The heaps are distinct in character, usually having a margin of ground about a foot in diameter, which seems to have been levelled for them. They are of two very distinct sizes, the larger being about 12 ft. to 14 ft. in diameter, the smaller about half as big. They seemed to be mixed indiscriminately. We opened two of the larger heaps, one partially, the other thoroughly. There were traces of a small opening towards the west.. A trench, however, extending to nearly 6 ft. below the surface, failed to disclose any remains which would enable the mounds to be dated, nor were there any traces of human habitation. Indeed, as far
as I could gather from local opinion, nothing ever had been found in any circles opened. Possibly they were never used as habitations. (Fig. 1 shows the circle excavated.)
The following description of the remains above Plas Gwynfryn I take from my working notebook. All the remains are on the top of a steep spur of the hill, the ground on three sides forming almost a cliff. The general appearance of the whole circle is egg-shaped, the smaller end including smaller circles with well-marked but ruined walls, in the centre of which there is a circular erection with a hole in the middle, and to the north-east, still within the outer wall, a larger circle. The wall is scarcely noticeable at the larger end of the camp, but the ground