London: Archaeologists have discovered a 4th century Roman villa near Aberystwyth in north and mid Wales, which they claim suggests that the Roman control over Britain stretched even further than first thought.
Roman villas were high-status homes of wealthy landowners which sat at the heart of a farming estate. They are common throughout southern England and south Wales, but rare in north and mid Wales.
The newly discovered villa is likely to have belonged to a wealthy landowner, with pottery and coin finds on the site indicating occupation in late 3rd and early 4th centuries AD, according to the archaeologists.
It was roofed with local slates which were cut for a pentagonal roof. The walls were built of local stone and there was a cobbled yard, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
It was thought that Wales was a "military zone", abandoned by the Romans a few decades after the first century.
Dr Toby Driver of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Jeffrey Davies, formerly of Aberystwyth University, had previously excavated at nearby Trawscoed Roman fort, which had been abandoned by AD 130.
"Our trial excavations this year have confirmed the remains of an imposing Romano-British building in the heart of mid-Wales, where no Roman villas were previously known. "The discovery raises significant new questions about the regional economy and society in late Roman Wales, and raises the possibility of future villa discoveries in the surrounding countryside," they said.