The Roman fortress of Isca was founded at Caerleon in around 75AD and occupied by the Romans until at least 300AD.
The Roman Legionary Museum helps visitors to understand how the Romans lived in this former outpost of the Roman Empire.
You can see how the Legionaries slept and ate in a mock up barrack room, take a wander around the recreated Roman garden as well as take in the artefacts on display in the museum.
The museum itself opened in 1850 and expanded over the years as more archaeological discoveries were found in the local area. In 1930 the museum became part of the National Museum of Wales and today is managed by Cadw.
The museum exhibits are fascinating and showcase some of the best finds from the Roman era in Britain. The artefacts in the museum were all found in the local area in what was know as the Roman town of Isca.
Items in the museum include:
Arguably the most fascinating display piece is a stone coffin, complete with its skeleton of a 2nd/3rd century man and the items buried with him largely still intact!
The museum is free of charge as are a lot of CADW sites. And is great for people of all ages. The museum also has a fantastic education centre where kids can dress up in full Roman soldier garb and learn in more detail about Roman life in Britain; the games they played, the food they ate, writing and counting, how they bathed and groomed, treated illness, how they trained and general day to day activities.
In close proximity to the Roman Legionary Museum, you can find the outstanding remains of the Roman Barracks. These are the only Roman barracks open to the public in Europe.
The foundation walls on this site are easy to make out as is the layout of 3 barrack blocks, communal latrines, cookhouses, drainage system, fortress walls and a corner turret.
A stones throw from the Barracks you will find Caerleon's Roman Amphitheatre. In its heyday up to 6,000 people would have been able to watch gladiatorial combat, parades, executions and other events. The Caerleon Amphitheatre is the only fully excavated Roman Amphitheatre in the United Kingdom. After walking around the museum it is a great place for kids to let off some steam and run around. In summer months the site is used for re-enactments and other displays celebrating the local history.
Also in Caerleon you can visit the remains of the fortress bathhouse established for soldiers.
Within this complex, you can see the chambers for hot and cold baths, exercise rooms, plunge pools and outdoor swimming pool. The baths even had heated changing rooms that were warmed by an intricate underfloor heating system. The Roman Baths museum has a range of interactive displays which talk you through what you are seeing and give you video displays of what things would have looked like in Roman times.
The Roman Fortress of Isca is a great day out for all who love history and the museums are free of charge as are many Cadw sites.
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Dave studied History through the Open University and has a passion for museums, castles, battlefields and other heritage sites with a keen interest in Roman Britain, the Napoleonic Wars and World War I.
Dave can be found on Twitter @_History_Dave_