These Amazing Photos Show Britain's Iron Age Past Brought To Life By Soaring Temperatures


Dr. Katie Spalding

Katie has a PhD in maths, specializing in the intersection of dynamical systems and number theory.

Freelance Writer

As you may have noticed, it's quite hot out there. Although more famous for rain than rays, the UK has not been spared the extreme effects of the recent heatwave  but for some, the unprecedented hot and dry spell has provided a new opportunity to connect with their local history.

Recent photographs of the Welsh countryside taken for the impressively-named Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) have revealed long-lost British settlements, now turning up as crop marks in the parched fields and ripening crops.


Images taken by aerial photographer Dr Toby Driver show in sharp relief the eerie outlines of Roman farms and forts from over 1,500 years ago.

The cropmarks show the outline of a Roman farm or villa in Caerwent, South Wales.

Some of the ancient structures, such as this Roman fort near the village of Magor, were not even known about before they were revealed by the recent extreme weather.

Newly-discovered fortlet near Magor, South Wales.

At the village of Talybont-on-Usk, the Iron Age site of Cross Oak Hillfort was easy to see in the struggling crops.

The circle clearly shows the Iron Age Cross Oak Hillfort.

And at Castell Llwyn Gwinau in the village of Tregaron, Ceredigion, the ghost of a medieval castle came to life once more in the middle of the Sun-baked fields.

Castell Llwyn Gwinau, Tregaron, Ceredigion, Wales.

The images were shared on Twitter, where they gained a lot of interest from keen history and archaeology enthusiasts.


Many people replied offering their own examples of local archaeology unveiled by the heatwave.


(For those intrigued by this comment, this is what this commenter is referring to.)




Some offered examples from much more recent history, such as World War Two bomb shelters or trenches – and from as far away as Sydney, Australia.


The RCAHMW have said they are going to continue to use the opportunity to document more historical sites across Wales before the rain inevitably comes back and obscures them once again. The hot and dry conditions are expected to last for another two weeks in the UK, however, so who knows how many more ancient settlements they may discover in that time.