The South Wales county town of Carmarthen holds precious little evidence of its Roman past. A fort existed here with an associated civil settlement, and later a sizeable tribal capital, yet only one Roman monument remains above ground. Impressively, though, that monument is one of few of its kind preserved well in the country: the amphitheatre.
Moridunum (possibly meaning Sea Fort, the site being at the Towy estuary’s tidal limit) began as a fort in the Flavian era in 74AD, controlling the lands of the Demetae tribe. A civilian settlement continued to grow into at least the 4th century, forming the new Romanised tribal capital of the Demetae. The fort, and later the town, sat at a meeting of major roads reaching south to Neath (Nidum), east to Llandovery (Alabum), and north to Llanio (Bremia).
The amphitheatre is surprisingly large for the size of the civil settlement or fort, and was constructed with stone revetments supporting earth banks and wooden seating. Now, since excavation, the interior arena walls have been reconstructed, and some 60-70% of the site is uncovered and consolidated.
The site is well upkept and very pleasant to visit. Crossing the river from the south, enter the town, turning right up the hill past the castle. Follow the road through the town, bearing right after the church onto Priory Street. Park up just beyond the high green bank on your left to visit the amphitheatre. The town is pleasant, with a number of medieval buildings, but for the Roman fan only the amphitheatre and small exhibits in the nearby museum at Abergwili remain to visit.
Remains: 2/5 Atmosphere: 3/5 Access: 3/5 Overall: 3/5