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Leucarum and Nido

Somewhere between ten and twenty years after the Roman invasion, a fort was built at the mouth of the River Loughor. The fort, known as Leucarum, was used as a garrison and housed a regiment of troops from the Auxilia: a non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman Army. It was made up of troops who weren’t Roman but came from countries under Roman Empire rule. It may well have contained Welsh and English troops and even barbarians.

The Leucarum was a trapezoid shape – it had sloping sides. By the year 110 stone defences had been added to the ditch that surrounded the fort. It was occupied until sometime between the middle and end of the first century. Once it was abandoned the ditch silted up and by the third century had become fully covered. It was brought back into use by the third century to defend against possible Irish raiders, but by the 4th century it was finally abandoned altogether. A Norman castle was eventually built upon the site, which was an ideal location for defending against invasion.

The fort may have been surrounded by a civil settlement but there is no evidence of what this settlement may have been like.

The site of Leucarum is under Loughor town. Little evidence of the fort exists today and the only items excavated from the site include iron nails and glass, which are kept at Swansea Museum.

A second Roman fort existed at Neath as a crossing place for the river (known to the Romans as the River Nedd). The fort was called Nido or Nidum and was built sometime around AD 70. It was the beginning of the settlement that eventually grew into the town of Neath.

The main economy of Gower during the Roman period was agriculture. This meant that outside of the Roman forts and settlements, it’s very likely that life continued as normal for the local people.