ARCHAEOLOGISTS were thrilled to find a bridge to the past – quite literally – as the low tide and some hard digging revealed evidence of what could be a Roman crossing over the Wye.
Members of the Chepstow Archaeological Society had a two-hour window to dig for evidence under the shadow of the town’s 950-year-old Norman castle, and made some amazing finds after being safely delivered to the muddy riverside by the Severn Area Rescue Association team from Beachley .
CAS spokesperson Simon Maddison said: “Thanks to the amazing SARA team, Chepstow Archaeological Society was able to successfully conduct an excavation in the river bank during the extreme low tide event last Friday (August 4).
“With just over a two-hour window, the team were able to locate upright timbers in a tidal pool on the location of the Roman crossing.
“Excavating around these we were able to expose very substantial timbers and beautiful joints that are probably part of an original pier and cutwater.
“We took timber samples for dendrochronological and possible Carbon 14 dating, but until the results come back we won’t know for sure the period of the structure.
“Apart from the very tight time window, conditions were challenging to say the least. SARA brought some of the team down off the bank using mud stretchers, with the others coming in by boat.
“The mud was very dense and very sticky, and we frequently got stuck in it.
“Without SARA it would have been impossibly dangerous.
“We are thrilled with what we were able to achieve and await dating results with keen anticipation.”
SARA Beachley posted photos of the muddy dig, saying: “Something different last Friday! A small SARA team provided safety cover and other muddy assistance to a group from the Chepstow Archaeological Society, investigating the site of the Roman bridge across the Wye just above Chepstow Castle. With amazing results, as these photos show!
“This was our second such outing, and followed a visit in May which was something of a detailed reconnaissance.
“Both visits were arranged for the bottom of spring tides, to give the maximum exposure of the area,” they added.
“And this meant that both outings provided a lot of good training value for us, with boat handling in shallow and pretty fast moving water as well as operating in the mud, as well as helping with the archaeology.”