Lydney Park Roman Camp
Lydney Park Roman Camp
A Roman temple and villa complex stand upon an earlier Iron Age hill forton a high bluff overlooking the River Severn. Part of the Lydney Park estate.
History
The first evidence of Roman occupation at Lydney comes from around 250 AD. Excavations have revealed evidence of workers' huts, probably used by labourers in the nearby iron-mines. Some time around 364 AD a rectangular temple was erected on the site. The temple measures roughly 80 x 60 feet, with heavy buttresses to stabilise the building. The interior face of the buttresses have small niches cut into them, probably to display statues.

There is a single entrance in the south-east of the temple, with a short flight of steps into the temple interior. The far end (in the north-west) is divided into three compartments. This suggests that a tripartite god was worshipped here, with each room representing a different aspect of the god's attributes.

Archaeologists discovered over 8000 coins on the temple site, which seems to have been used well into the 5th century, after the Romans had left Britain. One find was a bronze plaque depicting a woman, and over 300 bracelets and pins suggest some form of healing cult. Mosaic fragments show fishermen, a sea god, and tritons, showing a link to the Celtic god Nodens, roughly equivalent to the Roman war-god Mars. One bronze object showed a sea-god driving a chariot.

One of the artefacts found during excavations on the site was a Romano-British cast bronze sculpture of a dog. This dog likeness has become the symbol for Lydney Park Estate.

Excavations have also shown that the site was occupied long before the arrival of the Romans, probably as early as 100 BC.

Visiting
The estate is open on specified days in spring and summer. Visits include an opportunity to explore the Roman camp, enjoy the woodland garden, and visit a New Zealand museum.