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Historic England Research Records

Lydney Camp

Hob Uid: 111668
Location :
Gloucestershire
Forest Of Dean
Lydney
Grid Ref : SO6159002674
Summary : Earthwork remains of an Iron Age promontory fort or hillfort, it is dated c.BC 100. Excavations uncovered the remains of Romano-British ironstone mining and a late 3rd/early 4th century AD temple/bath complex which has been partially restored. A coin hoard dated to c.AD 360 was also found.
More information : [Centred: SO 61600267] Camp [G.T.]
[SO 61590271] RESERVOIR [G.S.]
[SO 61550267] BATHS [G.S.]
[SO 61590266]]GUEST HOUSE [G.S.] (Remains of) [T.I.]
[SO 61550261] TEMPLE [G.S.] (Remains of) [T.I.] (1)

A promontory fort some 5 acres in extent was established at Lydney in or just before the 1st. c. B.C., & was subsequently, during the 2nd. & 3rd. cents. A.D., occupied by a Roman-British population engaged to some extent in iron-mining. Soon after A.D. 364-7, a temple, dedicated to Nodens, was built, & with it a guest-house, baths & other structures. About the end of the 4th. c., the buildings were surrounded by a precinct-wall, but later fell into decay, & the final phases of occupation, probably in the 5th. & 6th. cents., is represented by a reinforcement of the prehistoric earthwork. (2)

Surveyed at 1/2500.
Of the Roman remains, the excavated temple has walls up to 1.0m. high and has been restored. The bath building has walling up to 1.5m. high, and the reservoir is a shallow depression with a flagstone floor. The top of the stone-lined drain which leads from the reservoir to the baths has been fully exposed. No other buildings can be identified.
See G.P.'s AO/63/94, 2,3, & 6. (3)

One of the best-known and most interesting Roman sacred sites in Britain - a prosperous temple complex dating from after AD 364 and consisting of, besides the temple itself, a courtyard house, a suite of baths and what was probably the "abaton" of a healing centre. To the north stood a water-tank and a guest-house. Very numerous small finds with some 8000 coins (including a hoard of minute barbarous copies) prove a rich occupation extending certainly into the 5th century, and such finds as representations of dogs in stone and bronze, 320-odd pins and nearly 300 bracelets point quite definitely to a healing cult. (4)

The position of the Roman name 'NEMETOBALA (?) in the Ravenna Cosmography (where it is shown as 'METABALA') indicates a location in the countries of Monmouth (Gwent) or Gloucester; a possibility is therefore the Roman temple in the hillfort at Lydney. (5)

Excavation and re-excavation of deposits at Lydney Park, see plans (5), indicate that a date of inception for the temple complex after 364 is not tenable. (6-7)

Exacavation of the context where the corridor of the bath building impinges on the end wall of the long building (Abaton) confirmed that the bath, which incorporates a hoard datable to c360 in a repair to an eroded mosaic post-dated the long building. It was demonstrated that the mosaics of the long building, which sealed a coin of Gratian, are secondary, the original floors being flags or opus signinum. On present evidence the complex appears to date to the late 3rd or early 4th century. The present temple may not be the earliest on the site, though no predecessor has been discovered as yet. Fragments of cement floors and tesserae, incorporated in the make-up floors of the long building, indicate that a building of some pretensions existed on the site at an earlier phase. (8)

Two decorative relief carvings were noted lying close to the temple site. These apparently dated from the later 2nd or 3rd Century and suggest the possible former presence of a major building which would pre-date any so far found. (9)

Two small horizontal adits or mines (for the extraction of iron ore), discovered during Wheeler's 1932 excavation noted in a review of industrial archaeology in Gloucestershire. (10)

The entrance of one of the iron mine adits excavated by Wheeler was consolidated by Dean Local History Society in 1985. (11)

The attempted consolidation of a hypocaust system in the bath house in 1958 revealed a fissure associated with early Roman or Iron Age iron workings. these were partly excavated by C Scott-Garrett. (12)

SO 6102 The room of the temple in which the coin hoard was discovered by Wheeler was re-excavated in 1981 disclosing a phase of flooring beneath that in which the hoard was found. The excavation cast doubt on Wheeler's chronology for the site suggesting that the majority of the buildings may date from the late 3rd or early 4th centuries. A section cut through the rampart to the S of the site revealed an Iron Age core (with a sling-stone hoard), which had been heightened in 3 phases during the Roman period. These developments were suggested as representing a temenos wall around the temple. The uppermost layer (seen by Wheeler as a post-Roman re-defence) was re-interpreted as a redeposit. (13-15)

SO 616 027. Lydney. Listed in gazetteer as a univallate hillfort covering 1.8ha. (16)

Scheduled, RSM Number 28870. (17)

Parts of the Roman bath house and temple are visible as exposed stonework on aerial photographs. Most of the hilltop is covered in trees so the Iron Age fort and ironstone mining were not visible. Possible Ironstone mining is visible immediately ot the north (see SO 60 SW 73). (18)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1955
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Report on the excavation of the prehistoric, Roman, and post-Roman site in Lydney Park, Gloucestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.9
Source Number : 11
Source : Glevensis : Gloucestershire and District Archaeological Research Group review
Source details : (I Standing)
Page(s) : 35
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1986
Source Number : 12
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : (C Scott-Garrett)
Page(s) : 86-91
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 78, 1959
Source Number : 13
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (NB Rankov)
Page(s) : 380
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1982
Source Number : 14
Source : University of Durham and University of Newcastle upon Tyne archaeological reports
Source details : (PJ Casey)
Page(s) : 30-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1980(1981)
Source Number : 15
Source : University of Durham and University of Newcastle upon Tyne archaeological reports
Source details : (PJ Casey)
Page(s) : 26-Jul
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1981(1982)
Source Number : 16
Source : British Hillforts: an index
Source details :
Page(s) : 185
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 62
Source Number : 17
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Schedule amendment 20-JUN-2000
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1295 3010-3011 26-MAR-1946
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GHP 07-NOV-63
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Temples in Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 88-92
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 424
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Roman Gloucestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 153-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : (P J Casey)
Page(s) : 178
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 99, 1981
Source Number : 8
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 357
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1981
Source Number : 9
Source : Two decorative relief carvings at Lydney Park, Gloucestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 355-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 63
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeology in Gloucestershire from the earliest hunters to the industrial age : essays dedicated to Helen O'Neil and the late Elsie Clifford
Source details :
Page(s) : 318
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Iron Age
Display Date : Late Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -100
Monument Type : Promontory Fort, Univallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 299
Monument Start Date : 100
Monument Type : Ironstone Mine
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 332
Monument Start Date : 267
Monument Type : Temple, Bath House
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 370
Monument Start Date : 350
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : COIN HOARD
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 26
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : GC 48
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 25
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 28870
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SO 60 SW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : LYDNEY PARK ROMAN TEMPLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1805-01-01
End Date : 1805-12-31
Associated Activities : LYDNEY PARK ROMAN TEMPLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1928-01-01
End Date : 1929-12-31
Associated Activities : LYDNEY PARK ROMAN TEMPLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1958-01-01
End Date : 1959-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SO 60 SW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1963-11-07
End Date : 1963-11-07
Associated Activities : LYDNEY PARK ROMAN TEMPLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1980-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : LYDNEY PARK PROMONTORY FORT
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: GLOUCESTERSHIRE NMP (NORTH COTSWOLDS AND FOREST OF DEAN)
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31