Bremia (Llanio) Fort
The Roman Fort at Llanio/Bremia
The only historic reference we have of the Roman name for the fort here is contained in the Ravenna Cosmology of the seventh century. In this work, the entry Bremia (R&C#54), which occurs between Gobannium (Abergavenny, Gwent) and Alabum (Llandovery, Dyfed), is considered by scholars to represent Llanio.
The fort’s defences consist of a single V-profile ditch 11ft (3.4m) wide and 4ft (1.2m) deep backed by a rampart 18ft (5.5m) wide constructed of turf blocks with a gravel-clay infill. Four phases of timber buildings were identified during trial-trenching in 1969. Pottery fragments indicate a period of occupation ‘from c.75AD to after 120AD’. It would appear that the principia was intentionally burnt down in order to reduce the size of the fort, judging from the fact that a (V-profile?) ditch 10ft (3.1m) wide was dug immediately beside the levelled building. Traces of extra-mural industrial activity in the form of ‘large deposits of iron slag and ash’ were discovered outside the southern defences of the fort. (See: Britannia I (1970) p.269.)
“The Second Cohort of Asturians […]”
(RIB 407; Burn 23a)
“[…]mibus […] the Second Cohort of Asturians“
(RIB 408; Burn 23b)
There are five inscriptions on stone reported in the R.I.B. for the fort at Llanio, the texts and translations of all of these stones are shown here.
Centurial Stones From Bremia
> ARTI MENNIVS PRIMVS:
“The century of Artius Mennius Primus [made this]”
“The century of Artius [made this]”
“The century of Verionus [made this]”
> ARTI MENNIVS PRIMVS:
(RIB 411; Burn 23c)
Recent Excavation Work
None of the samian ware recovered in 1972 from the fort (SN644564) could be dated later than c.105AD. During excavations in 1970 the walls of the bath-house (SN644562) were found to be mostly robbed-out, but the tepidarium and frigidarium were both identified. Fragments of window glass and iron T-clamps were found but no dateable evidence was unearthed. Further excavation work was conducted on the east end of the caldarium in 1971, which revealed an apsidal room similar to that found at the baths western end in the previous year. Still no dating evidence was found.
References for Bremia
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1958-1960 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. li (1961) p.127;
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1965-1968 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lix (1969) p.126;
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1973-76 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxvii (1977) pp.154/5;
- Britannia iv (1973) p.271;
- Britannia iii (1972) p.300;
- Britannia ii (1971) p.243;
- C.B.A. Group2, ‘Archaeol. in Wales’, no.9 1969 p.17;
- The Roman Inscriptions of Britain – Vol.I Inscriptions on Stone by Prof. R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
- The Romans in Britain An anthology of Inscriptions by A.R. Burn (Oxford 1932);
- Archaeol. Cambrensis 1888 pp.297-317.