EXCAVATIONS IN THE VICINITY OF FORDEN GAER ROMAN FORT, POWYS, 1987 KEVIN BLOCKLEY with GLYN OWEN and WENDY OWEN' INTRODUCTION Excavations on four different parts of the major complex of archaeological sites in the vicinity of Forden Gaer were undertaken in the summer of 1987 under the supervision of the author for the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. Site I lay on the east bank of the Severn where the river is causing serious erosion to part of the civilian settlement or vicus south of the Roman fort of Lavobrinta; urgent rescue excavation was considered necessary here. Sites II and III were excavated by trial trench to reveal the date and nature of deposits and to establish their state of preservation, with regard to their future management. These sites were thought to be a post-Roman hall (22) adjacent to a Romano-British farmstead (23-25) and possible temple enclosure or temenos (32). Site IV was investigated for similar reasons to Sites II and III, but in this instance a stretch of one of the 1927 excavation trenches was re-opened, so that a direct comparison could be made between the stratification recorded then and the present condition of the Roman fort. A detailed contour survey of the fort was also undertaken, which it is hoped will be published at a later date together with an updated assessment of aerial photographic evidence. Previous excavations in the area had been limited to three seasons' work on the Roman fort by the Powysland Club (Pryce and Pryce Davies 1927; 1929; 1930) and small trial excavations on the river bank in 1975, adjacent to the 1987 Site I (Connell 1975). The numerous aerial photographs, largely by Dr J. K. St Joseph of Cambridge University, have been assessed (Crew 1980) and need not be discussed in detail here (see also Whimster 1989, 62, fig. 38). Extensive geophysical surveys were conducted in 1971 and 1972 to the west of the Roman fort and on sites 22-25 and 32 (see fig. 1) by the Geophysics Section of the Ancient Monuments Laboratory. The original site records and finds catalogues are held, for the time being by the Clwyd- Powys Archaeological Trust in Welshpool. Finds have been deposited in the Powysland Museum, Welshpool. THE 1987 EXCAVATIONS Site I: Trench across a Roman road south of the fort (fig. 2; pl. I) The extent of the vicus or civilian settlement attached to the fort is unknown, but it would seem most likely that this was sited in the area between the fort and the river. An area 21 x 9 m was selected for excavation close to a newly eroded section of the river bank south of the fort, across the line of a major road running south from the fort and in the vicinity of a possible enclosure visible on aerial photographs (Crew 1980, fig. 3). Recording of layers in this stretch of the river bank, together with the excavation of an area 4 x 2 m across, a 'The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL.