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Archaeological Work on Land at Five Mile Lane

Rubicon Heritage was commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to undertake a programme of archaeological investigation associated with the A4226 road improvement scheme


Throughout the archaeological project Rubicon liaised with the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff University and Cadw with representative of all three institutions visiting the sites during excavation work. 


The project has provided a wide range of very significant evidence for the archaeology and history of the area from early prehistory (3500BC) through to the Roman period (1st to 4th centuries AD). Find include:

  • Prehistoric Bronze Age barrows (burial mounds) and cremations

  • Prehistoric Iron Age settlement enclosure with roundhouses and field system

  • Roman metalworking site  - Iron smelting and smithing

  • Roman villa previously excavated in the 1960s and 1970s


Work was carried out on a number of sites along the planned route; including SMR15, SMR 16, SMR16b and SMR 19.

SMR 15

This area was stripped in three phases where Rubicon identified numerous, complex, intercutting and overlapping ditches, post-built structures, ring ditches and three distinct metal working areas.


Aerial View of site SMR15


Trace of buried Roman soil layer masking earlier features including:

    • Roman field systems with associated enclosures
    • Earlier Iron Age settlement with round houses and field system
    • Roman Metalworking site including the discovery of clay lining to a furnace and blacksmithing evidence
    • Three Bronze Age barrows


Find SMR 15 (2)
Finds on SMR 15
Find SMR 15



SMR 16

This site revealed the extent of one or more field systems relating to the Villa site.

SMR 16

    • Western and southern sides of four overlapping rectilinear enclosures
    • Roman coins of 3rd to 4th century date recovered
    • Four human inhumations (One of which dated possibly to late 4th – Early 5th Century)
    • Evidence of a Corn Dryer


SMR 16b

The findings in this area were originally excavated by Cardiff University between 1956 and 1976. Further investigations identified:


SMR 16b

  • The western third of the Roman villa of Whitton Lodge.
    • Re-evaluation of the previous findings, with further light shed on the construction and use of the buildings.
  • Entire west range and the western extent of the south and north ranges along with south, north and west sides of the large perimeter ditch.
  • Pottery throughout dating to Roman period
  • Evidence suggests that the site was heavily defended and potentially more than just a Villa site.
  • Excavation of defensive ditches roughly 7m wide and 3m deep


Find from SMT 16B
North Range SMR  16b
South Range SMR 16B


SMR 19

This site revealed three intercutting enclosures.

Aerial view SMR 19

  • Early circular enclosure to the south
  • Later inter cutting circular enclosure/burial monument and D shaped enclosure to the North
  • Pottery recovered from early enclosure dates approximately to Neolithic/Bronze Age
  • Later enclosure show at least three phases of development.
  • Over 450 inhumations/cremations 
  • Evidence of early field systems possibly dating to the Bronze Age through to the Roman period
  • Possible early post hole/pit alignments pre dating the enclosures. 


Find from site SMR 19
Piece found at SMR 19



During the work, all human remains were excavated, recorded and removed in full compliance with a licence issued by the Ministry of Justice under the 1857 Burial Act. The work has been continuously monitored for standards by independent representatives of Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust, Cotswolds Archaeology and Black Mountain Archaeology.


On completion of the post-excavation reporting on the finds, all will be taken to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.