Crumbled stones and burnt wood – results of the excavation on the Raetian Limes in Laimerstadt (Bavaria)
Andreas A. Schaflitzl
In 2015, a gas pipeline was planned to cross the Raetian limes at Laimerstadt near Ingolstadt (Bavaria, Germany). In order to plan how best to protect the heritage, there had to be knowledge about the amount of destruction which the Limes had suffered during construction works on an older pipeline in the 1970s. Therefore, an excavation took place in order to see what remained. At the same time, the opportunity was taken to investigate a better-preserved part of the wall in a teaching excavation by the University of Freiburg im Breisgau. At the last Limeskongress in Ingolstadt, the participants had the chance to visit that site whilst work was in progress on one of the excursion days. The wall was in an alleged good condition, in respect to all phases of decay of a heritage can be seen and reconstructed. Furthermore, the steps by which this wall was built without any foundation can be reconstructed, because of the good preservation. The trench of the palisade was filled with two layers of charcoal, which were caused by burning wood. Reddened soil indicates a hot, burning fire. At the time of excavation this caused confusion, especially because the standing posts did not seem to be burnt like the wood lying in the trench. Several ideas have been discussed at the conference to explain this record.
Now three years later, all the analyses are finished and the interpretation completed giving many interesting details about the building and construction of the Raetian border – especially the wooden palisade: For example, it is likely that it was built in some kind of framework, and then burnt standing in the trench in order to conserve the wooden parts which were intended to be under the earth. The procedure of burning and filling can be reconstructed on the layers. The conclusions lead to a sceptical evaluation of reconstructed parts of the palisade. Therefore, a revised experimental rebuilding of the palisade is planned in April 2018, taking into consideration the results of this study.
A new roman early imperial military camp at the lower Lahn
Dr. des. Daniel Burger, Dr. Peter Henrich, Dr. Markus Scholz
Since 2012, the Directorate of Archaeology of Rhineland-Palatinate and the University of Erlangen have carried out geophysical prospections in the area of the lower Lahn. An approximately eight ha large Roman military camp with wood-earth fortification near Bad Ems was discovered. It suggests an early dating and/or temporary use. The camp was strategically built on an exposed hill and is not connected to the system of the Upper Germanic Limes.
First small excavations of the University of Frankfurt in 2017 provided a possible dating of the camp into the year 40-70 A.D. Military camps for the lower Lahn area weren´t known for this period until now.
Some other new finds of military character in combination with the military camp, create a connecting axis between the Roman Empire and the north-eastern Germanic areas for the middle of the 1st century A.D. This connection was previously known exclusively for the Augustan period (e.g. the sites of the civil settlement of Lahnau-Waldgirmes or the camp of Oberbrechen). An excavation campaign of the University of Frankfurt is planned for the summer term 2018 and aims to clarify selected areas of the camp’s internal structure and to gain further insights into the camp’s function.
Early Roman temporary military camp near the village of Polenitsa, Sandanski municipality, SW Bulgaria
The archaeological survey of the site was conducted in 2016 due to the construction of the “Struma” highway. The stratigraphy showed that the object was single-layered, inhabited for a short time and left voluntarily. There are no traces of enemy attack, natural disaster or burning. The found “buildings” and archaeological material indicate the lack of a common settlement structure. From the small finds most widely spread are iron hobnails from caligae soles. They are followed in number by iron tent pegs. Curiously, some of the pegs along with a pavement outline the site of one of the tents, as well as the possible place of another.
The “buildings” found on the site show short living and peaceful abandonment. The hobnails, arrows, coins, and the almost the complete lack of kitchen pottery speak of a brief occupation of the terrain by a military unit.
Most likely, the site is a temporary tent camp of a Roman military unit. The archaeological data is confirmed by written sources. Livius reports that after the victory over Perseus in 168 BC, Publii Nasica was send with a squad of infantry and cavalry, to bring to ruin Heraclea Sintica and not allow the king to take action. The Roman soldiers remained in the area for about a year and in 167 Heracleia is mentioned once more – for including it along with the bastarni lands in the First Macedonian region.
Our ditches are missing! Camps without defences
Rebecca H Jones
Two recent developer-funded excavations in Scotland have uncovered an array of Roman ovens seemingly without any perimeter defences. These challenge the previously assumed notion that camps in frontier areas like Scotland were routinely protected by perimeter ditches, sometimes quite large in places. That in turn leads to the need to reappraise our existing assumptions about stray Roman ovens – often assumed to be of local Iron Age construction but rarely radiocarbon dated. Are we missing an array of camps with untraceable perimeter defences?
The Roman Gask Project
Over the last five years the Roman Gask Project has been studying the Mearns, a complex landscape in Southern Aberdeenshire to understand the ways in which the Romans may have perceived and used this landscape during their occupation in the late first century AD, and during their campaigns in the second and third centuries.
The Roman remains as currently known consist of the permanent first century fort of Stracathro and three marching camps which occupy very varied terrains from a flood plain site (Balmakewan) to a camp that straddles a whale-back shaped hill (Kair House).
There has so far been an uneasy feeling that the peculiar position of Stracathro – inland and within sight of the largest hill forts in the area – was unlikely to be Rome’s final installation to the north and that further forts were likely to be found closer to the coast (e.g. at Stonehaven), which prompted a detailed study of the area from 2011-2017, using local field observation, aerial survey, GIS as well as historical records and geological data.
Crucial for this study was the reconstruction of the original landscape as modern infrastructure projects (like the construction of a number of fishing harbours and long distance roads) and the large scale draining of the ubiquitous wetlands have completely changed the original usability of the area.
The study demonstrated that Stracathro was far from being tactically compromised, but presented a very logical northern end to the Roman occupation of Scotland. It occupies and controls a unique crossing point over a locally major river, and using the surrounding wet-lands in a way that copies the earlier Dutch Rhine frontier, it minimizes the need for glen blocking installations in the surrounding Mounth passes.
How long was the Roman Gask Frontier (and when)?
Recent excavations and still more so aerial and geophysical surveys have suggested that the Roman Gask system continues further north than had been thought: at least as far as the River Isla. At the same time, however, it has also suggested that the dating of the system may be more complicated than had been believed. The paper will present a synopsis of the new evidence and offer an interpretation.
Understanding the design of the Antonine Wall: some problems and issues
Prof. W.S. Hanson
There are currently two models to explain why the distribution of forts along the Antonine Wall is so much closer than that found on other Roman frontiers. The first, originating in the 1930s but recently re-asserted, is that it was always intended to look more or less the way it appears to us today, with garrisons intelligently positioned in a flexible response to local conditions. The second, first proposed in the 1970s, is that its original design was broadly based on that of Hadrian’s Wall, but rapidly underwent major amendment with the addition of a series of more-closely-spaced and generally smaller forts as a response to local hostile reaction to its construction. This paper will seek to demonstrate why the second model should be preferred.
Thinking small: the role of fortlets in building frontiers
Fortlets are rarely given detailed coverage when it comes to understanding how the Roman military structured their frontiers. Yet these small, versatile installations offered a flexible means to create bespoke fortifications that were carefully tailored to the different challenges created by the desire to achieve frontier control. An assessment of fortlet design and the way in which they were positioned within the landscape reveals intriguing continuities and divergences in use, which carry implications for our understanding of the type of control the military sort to exert. This paper will examine fortlet use on four artificial frontiers: the Upper German Limes, Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall, and the Raetian Limes, in order to identify and isolate varying strategies for fortlet use. This approach reveals a highly experimental phase in which wildly different techniques were pioneered on the earliest artificial barriers, before a consensus concerning the most effective approach to using fortlets emerged in later decades. This process brings the way in which the Roman military wrestled with the challenging realities of building frontier control into sharp focus.
Burgus-type structures from the frontier of Dacia Porolissensis
The Roman frontier layout is directly conditioned by the landscape types and features. Every type of frontier is created in that way to exploit at maximum the topographic layers to the advantages of the tactical ones.
The frontier of Dacia Porolissensis is a non-linear one, being a perfect example of how the Romans used the given landscape to place the military installation. Thereby, it was created a spatial pattern of these structures, being established a tripartite form of organization: the first line is represented by auxiliary forts, the median lines is represented by burgus-type structures or middle sized fortification and the third and the most advanced line is composed of watchtowers.
A part of my research and the present presentation is focusing on the second type of structures, the burgi. By using a large spectrum of methods from epigraphy, topographical survey, aerial survey, GIS analyses and using older excavations, I tried to underline the main functional characteristics of these installation and mainly what is their role in the mechanism of limes Dacicus, with special focus on the frontier of Dacia Porolissensis.
New LiDAR data on the NW limes of Dacia
Felix Marcu, George Cupcea, Aleksandra Jankowska and Jacek Rakoczy
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In the Northwest, the limit of Dacia was the highland chain of the Mountains Meses, which separate the Transylvanian basin from the Pannonian plain. Its summit connects the Apuseni Mts and the Eastern Carpathians, as a natural barrier, a geographical limit between two basins, long of about 60 km.
It is the most spectacular sector of the Roman frontiers here, with visually connected towers built in a network on the crest of the hills, with forts behind, fortlets and earthen ramparts blocking every valley penetrating the chain of the mountains.
Many of the towers have been archaeologically investigated, until recently never topographically mapped. We don’t know when the limes was built. On Trajan’s column there is no trace of such an event and neither in other sources. In most of the auxiliary forts aligning behind the limes, evidence dating from the time of Trajan was found. The combined structures of the northern limes, meaning rows of towers in different shapes, parallel lines of defense, sometimes a wall, or just an earth rampart are proof of not only the complexity of the Dacian limes, but also of a very dynamic chronology. In the few archaeological researches inside the towers, the earliest traces were coins from the mid-2nd century AD.
The new LiDAR evidence on an interval of more than 60 km in the mentioned area reveals other interesting features which prove more phases in building this frontier of Dacia.
Geomagnetische Prospektionen an römischen Militäranlagen im SO Sie-benbürgen / Geomagnetic prospections in the Roman Military sites in south-east Transylvania
Within the last years a series of geomagnetic prospections were conducted in the area of the Roman Camps in south-east Transylvania. These prospections were part of the activities aimed at preparing the documentation regarding the Roman Limes in Dacia for its submission in the UNESCO Tentative List. We conducted magnetometric measurements in some sites, such as Breţcu, Comolău, Olteni, Baraolt and Boroşneu Mare. The results obtained allow us, on one hand, to discuss issues revealed by scientific researches of these sites, such as the situation of the “double wall” from Breţcu. On the other hand, this documentation gives us the possibility to manage these sites more efficiently, especially in the given situation, when they are to be proposed to become part of the Universal Heritage, listed in the UNESCO Tentative List within the “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”.
Cigmău – an unusual fort near the imperial border
Cristina Mitar, Adriana Rusu Pescaru, Eugen Pescaru
Although it has been identified since the 19th century, the auxiliary fort from Cigmău was not systematically researched until the beginning of the 20th century.
The fort is located on Mureș Valley, on a small hill, along the former imperial road between Micia and Apulum, c. 30 km east of the imperial border. It is considered that the Roman name Germisara includes the SPA resort located 8 km away, the fort from Cigmău and the civil settlement nearby. The toponym of the hill, Turiac (aka the Turkish hill) or Cetatea Urieșilor (The fortress of the giants) is consistent with the local legends regarding the ruins of the fort.
Unlike other forts, the unusual elongated shape of Cigmau is generated by the natural plateau on which is located. With a total area at about 2,4 ha, the fort is a relatively large structure for Numerus Britanicianorum Singulariorum, the military unit quartered here. The large number of horrea – type constructions discovered here leads to the conclusion that the functionality of the fort must have been more complex than a military camp. The majority of the objects discovered here date after the Marcomannic wars. The military equipment items are remarkably numerous and diverse, and include besides common types also regional distributed fittings.
Moesia Superior and Dacia during Trajan: Army and Frontiers
Florian Matei-Popescu, Ovidiu Țentea|
The province of Dacia was merely a northern extension of the Moesia Superior province. After AD 102, the territory north of the Danube seems to have been part of the Moesia Superior province. This could be imply merely by regarding the dislocation of the auxiliary units in the area. For example, the units from Pannonia could have been enlisted on the Pannonian diplomas as being in expedition. Nevertheless, that was not the case, they were enlisted among the units of Moesia Superior. This could lead us at the conclusion, that a part of Dacian territory was from the legal point a view already part of the Moesia superior province. Which were the spheres of competence of the Upper Moesian governor and the ones of that Longinus, mentioned by Cassius Dio, are still open to debate. There will be the task of this paper to research the contribution of the military units of the Moesia Superior province to the making of the Dacia province.
Non-invasive prospection of the site Egeta
Egeta is a multi-layered site on the right bank of the Danube, in the vicinity of Brza Palanka. At the early 1960s the field prospection was conducted, and about 20 years later the zones endangered by the rise of the river level at the time of erection of waterpower plant Djerdap II were archaeologically excavated. The remains of Roman, late antique and medieval settlements and necropolises were discovered on that occasion, as well as the remains of three fortifications outside the endangered zone. Fortification I, situated on the right bank of Crkveni potok, was detected based on the terrain configuration. Researchers supposed that its dimensions were about 100 x 100 m and dated it to the late 1st or early 2nd century. In Fortification II, on the left bank of Crkveni potok, right above its confluence with the Danube, several probes were opened. It was of rectangular shape dimensions 85 x 30 m, with circular towers protruding from the walls and one rectangular tower on the west. It was dated to the 3rd/4th century. Fortification III, shaped as equilateral triangle, was likewise detected by the terrain configuration. Its sides were about 60 m long and it was dated to the early Byzantine period.
Egeta site has not been excavated since, although it is very important and quite interesting, because on a very small area three forts were detected that guarantee the possibility to study the changes in defensive concept from the time of establishing the Danubian limes until its final collapse at the beginning of the 7th century. Therefor in 2017 archaeological explorations of the site were relaunched, focused on field prospection, analysis of modern satellite and aero photographs, some of those made before the erection of Djerdap II, as well as on geomagnetic survey of the terrain. Thanks to the modern methods some irregularities in available field documentation were noted and corrected, that mostly considered their spatial disposition. All fortifications were precisely geo-positioned and their real dimensions were established. Besides, the comparative analysis of aero and satellite photographs enabled the reconstruction of their position in regard to the Danube before the erection of waterpower plant in the second half of the 20th century. Geomagnetic survey also enabled the clearer picture of fortification elements and disposition of objects within the ramparts of Fortifications II and III. This presentation will be aimed as presenting all the gained results.
Exploring Viminacium: New excavations on the legionary fortress
Snežana Nikolić, Ivan Bogdanović, Goran Stojić, Ljubomir Jevtović,
Viminacium is located in Serbia, close to the confluence of the rivers Mlava and Danube. Previous investigations of Viminacium included only small parts of the legionary fortress related to the Legio VII Claudia, while recent archaeological excavations comprised also the North-western part of its defensive system. During the excavation campaigns in 2002, 2003 and 2016–2018, remains of the Northern (porta praetoria) and Western Gate (porta principalis sinistra), ramparts, corner and interval towers, as well as a part of a V-shaped ditch, have been excavated. Unearthed parts indicate the details of the ground plan of the defensive system and the whole fortress. Based on recent excavations it was possible to suggest at least two construction phases. A primal defensive system dates back to the Flavian period. It consisted of ramparts made of earth and wooden planks, while the curtain of the ramparts and towers were made of the locally queried naturally baked clay and mortar. The stone fortress was built during the 2nd century AD and its defensive walls were backed with the older ramparts. The defensive system was disrupted during the 4th century AD and along the ramparts graves from the late 4th century were set. Excavated parts of the architecture and related archaeological layers improved our knowledge and understanding of the history, planning and building process of Viminacium legionary fortress, as well as the history of military units that had been stationed there.
New researches of the roman fortress of Mogontiacum/Mainz
Dr. des. Daniel Burger
The construction of castra hiberna during the Drusus campaigns across the Main estuary marked the beginning of almost 400 years of Roman troop deployment in Mainz. Compared to other military sites on the Rhine it is surprisingly little known about this important site. This huge gap in the scientific research of the military camp is going to be analysed in a cooperation between the University of Freiburg and the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Mainz during the next years. A first step was made by the new investigation of the camp boundaries based on new excavations from the past couple of years. Parallel to this work, a register of the findings of all previously known building structures of the Mainz camp was taken. The results of the recently completed evaluation show that the defensive fortifications of the Mainz fortress were much more differentiated in their chronology than previously assumed. Thus, a smaller predecessor site could be proven, which questions a previously stated crew of two legions for the early period of the camp. For the first time an overall digital plan for the Mainz fortress, based on GIS is now available. The results are the basis for further evaluations of selected aspects of the roman fortress in Mainz.
The internal structure of the legionary fortress of Mogontiacum/ Mainz (Germany) – First insights
Uwe Xaver Müller
The legionary fortress of Mogontiacum / Mainz represents one of the most important and longest continuously occupied legionary garrisons of the Germanic provinces. The military base was founded no later than 13/12 BC as a winter camp for the campaigns of Drusus in Germania. At least since the establishment of the province Germania Superior and the promotion of Mainz to its caput provinciae during the last quarter of the first century AD it evolved to the military centre of the newly established province and persisted – although in certainly modified form – at least until the middle of the fourth century AD. Therefore the soldiers stationed here ensured the Roman rule over Germania Superior for almost four centuries. While the significance of the base as military centre of the province so far is based almost exclusively on scattered references in the ancient historiography and few epigraphic evidences very little is known about its development and the material remains of its garrison. There is no doubt that during its 350 years of existence the legionary fortress and in particular its internal buildings had to be adjusted continuously to changing infrastructural, personal and strategical requirements. Only very little is known about the accompanying structural changes so far. Due to this lack of information a small area excavated in 2014 at the so called “Römerwall” in the northwestern part of the fortress shall be presented, providing first insights into the dynamic history of the legionary fortress:
The early phase of the Augustan occupation of the Rhine zone is represented in this area by a number of centurions’ quarters, which are replacing one another chronologically. Within the late Augustan/ early Tiberian period a major change in the utilisation of space in this part of the fortress becomes apparent. The preceding buildings were torn down, the whole area was levelled and a presumably larger building complex erected instead. Due to the material evidence and features in this building complex referring to the processing of bone and metal it appears to be a justified conclusion to classify this complex as a fabrica.
A second significant change in the utilisation of this area is marked by the latest construction activities noticeable in the excavated area, when one of the main roads of the fortress, the via principalis, was rerouted through this area.
Large scale geomagnetic survey: the legionary fortresses of Vetera I (Xanten/Germany)
Lisa Berger (presenting author), Steve Bödecker M.A., Dr. Friedrich Lüth
In a joint project between the German Archaeological Institute, Berlin and the LVR-Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland, the entire area of the legionary fortresses of Vetera I and the surrounding area are investigated by large scale geomagnetic survey.
My dissertation project examines the structure and genesis of these fortresses. All in all, the analysis of the fortresses can lead to a much wider understanding of the organizational structure of large-scale Roman military installations. Due to the almost complete measuring of the inner structures and the ditches, both the knowledge of the road system, the measurement and internal structure of the fortresses as well as the individual building layouts can be significantly expanded. Based on this, the continuous development from Augustan-Tiberian polygonal fortresses to the canonical rectangular ground plan can be reconstructed in one place. Especially for the so-called camp A-C numerous new information came to light. Where so far only parts of the ditches were known, now also the internal structure and buildings can be proven.
In addition to the evaluation of the magnetogramms, the documentation of the old excavations from sketchbooks as well as selected aerial photographs are included for relevant features.
Large scale geomagnetic survey: the surrounding area of the legionary fortresses of Vetera I (Xanten/Germany)
Steve Bödecker (presenting author), Dr. Friedrich Lüth, Lisa Berger
In a joint project between the German Archaeological Institute (Berlin) and the LVR-Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland (Bonn), the entire area of the legionary fortresses of Vetera I and the surrounding area are investigated by large scale geomagnetic survey.
Beside filling the gaps of the interior layout of the legionary fortresses (see presentation by Lisa Berger) much progress has been achieved in understanding it’s surrounding area. Where the canabae have been assumed so far, large open spaced rectangular areas are dominating the area. At least two of them are showing the typical layout of an exercise ground with adjected halls recently identified by Chr. Gugl and J. Trumm as the obligatory campus of each legionary fortress. The presentation will demonstrate the newest results of the surveys and will focus on a still less understood aspect besides castra and canabae: the need of military land use.
Mud Max – Revealing Roman landscape in the modern industrial environment on the Brigetio – Azaum limes section, Hungary
Horváth, F., Szabó, M., Viczián, I.
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There are two legionary fortresses located on the Hungarian section of the Danube Limes: Aquincum and Brigetio. While remains of Aquincum are mostly buried under the Hungarian capital, Budapest, Brigetio has a more fortunate history and its territory is covered by the modern buildings of Komárom-Szőny only partially. Due to its position, for the centuries-old research of Brigetio more non-invasive archaeology (mostly aerial survey) has been available for giving a good insight into the strategically important Roman site and into the land use of its environs. Thanks to the environmental archaeological research of recent years, it also became possible to reconstruct the Roman hydrological and geomorphological conditions of the area, which highlighted a close strategical relationship between the legionary fortress of Brigetio and the nearby auxiliary fort, Azaum/Odiavum (Almásfüzitő).
Although, Azaum/Odiavum has played a key role in regulating the hydrological system of the area, only fragmentary data of the site are available because the 20th-century expansion of industrial facilities has radically transformed its territory and made traditional archaeology impossible permanently.
In our presentation, we would like to reinterpret and expand our knowledge about the Roman fort and its environs based on the information of image-based 3D modelling of archived aerial photographs and present a special example of the Roman strategy and land use on the Hungarian section of the Danube Limes.
New finds from the auxiliary fort Lugio/Florentia (Dunaszekcső, HU)
István Gergő Farkas
The Roman auxiliary fort Lugio and late-Roman fort Florentia is a special site of the Hungarian section of the Pannonian ripa. The forts themselves are located in present-day Dunaszekcső in Baranya county in Hungary on an endangered loess hill overlooking the Danube. Due to fluvial regulations in the 19th century the erosion of the river increased and gradually drew near to the site.
In the last two decades, there have been several major landslides on the area of the fort, moving tons of the hill and sliding Roman layers. Several institutions have teamed up to save the archaeological remains of the affected site, both by rescue excavations, slowing the degradation of the loess hill and also constant monitoring of the site. I have participated in this task and in this short paper I aim to present epigraphical material from the site as well as stamped tiles.
The fort was garrisoned by the cohors VII Breucorum c. R. a unit which held a specialist role in the military organization of Pannonia inferior as they were the largest brick manufacturers and transporters of the region during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Tiles marked by the unit are to be found on numerous sites of the ripa Pannonica.
In January 2018 along with 161 other sites on the Danube, the fort Lugio / Florentiana has been nominated as a component part of UNESCO World Heritage Site “Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes”. Hopefully we will be able to conduct further research on the site and to preserve its condition.
Military and civilian sites in the hinterland of Troesmis
C.-G. Alexandrescu, C. Gugl, G. Grabherr, B. Kainrath
In spite of its importance in Antiquity, Troesmis was very little in the focus of specialized archaeological research, being rather the exclusive subject of epigraphy and ancient history studies limited to epigraphic material analysis from the area. Within a multidisciplinary research project conducted between 2010-2015, the still visible ruins of the two fortresses (late Roman and Byzantine) as well as some ruins from the early Roman civilian settlement partially uncovered by a rescue research in 1977, but left unfinished have been documented. Based on the observations made by interpretation of cartographic sources, satellite and aerial images as well as ALS data, have been established research areas for the linewalking and raster survey. Their results allowed the targeted geophysical prospections. The final results of the non-invasive documentation of the central area of the Troesmis site were the location of the fortresses of the Legio V Macedonica, its canabae, as well as some necropolises areas.
The water supply of the settlements in the central area of the site, especially the remains on the territory of the Greci commune, was a subject of special interest, studied on the ground mainly in 2016 and 2017. During the last two years the archaeological research has focused on military and civilian antique structures in the vicinity of the central area of the Troesmis site, on the territory of the present-day Greci, Cerna and Carcaliu, revealed by archival information as well as through observations made in 2015 and 2016, using the same methodological pattern of survey followed by geomagnetical prospections. In addition, the data collection from the air by using a drone has been extensively used. The importance of these investigations is especially high, since these areas, although registered as having an archaeological value since the first half of the last century, were and are subject to intensive farming and pastoral activities, and consequently are, the same as most of the tumuli from the region, completely or almost destroyed.
Limes Scythicus qui latius diffusiusque porrigitur (CTh. VII 17.1). A commentary on a 4th and 5th century segment of a Danube river frontier.
After the great second half of the 3rd century crisis at the Lower Danube, the first half of 4th century was a period of relative economic prosperity, reconstruction, and political stability, except maybe some local and temporary disturbances in which the river frontier of Scythia was involved. The effects of the solid Tetrarchic and Constantinian interventions on economic, social and political ground in which defence politics played a significant role soon showed its beneficial effects in urban and rural milieu as well.
The real setback in the defence of the existing structures in the province of Scythia came not so much after the military disaster from Adrianople, but after the death of Theodosius I, a restorer, as much as he could afford it, of the pristine state of affairs. The 5th century Scythia faced a period of serious crisis although imperial administrations attempted to maintain control on the defensive capabilities at a level consistent with provincial and central economic resources. In analysing the characteristics of the 5th century, archaeological, legislation and literary sources are approached. Sites like Capidava, Carsium, Troesmis, Dinogetia, Noviodunum and Halmyris are discussed and compared with the state of the urban settlements in the interior of the province or on the littoral: The juridical sources, provide extra information of exceptional value on the administrative-military and economic realities in the 5th century Scythia. Literary sources, although few in number, add important clues on the situation of the period.
Burgus & Quadriburgium: Two Late Antique fortifications in Northwestern Noricum
Stefan Traxler, Gerald Grabherr, Barbara Kainrath and Wolfgang Klimesch
Before the Legion arrives – The presence of the Roman army on the western ripa Norica
Gerald Grabherr, Stefan Groh, Barbara Kainrath and Stefan Traxler
The garrison of the Legio II Italica in Lauriacum / Enns after the Marcomannic wars is well known for a long time. Priorly a previous stationing of the regiment in Albing, which is located only 5 km to the east across the river Enns, has been assumed. Recent research proved that the legionary fortress of Albing was a futile attempt – probably under the reign of Caracalla – to relocate the Legio II Italica to a more prominent location that is better visible from the opposite bank of the Danube.
Aerial archaeology and following geophysical prospections (geomagnetics and GPR) has led to the discovery of a hitherto unknown military camp in Stein-St. Pantaleon quite near to the legionary fortress of Albing. The site provides finds from the 2nd half of the 1st century to the 3rd quarter of the 2nd century containing military equipment and last but not least 7 fragments of at least 6 military diplomas. This makes it absolutely clear that the Auxiliary Camp at Stein-St. Pantaleon is to be regarded as the predecessor of the garrison of the Legio II Italica at Lauriacum / Enns.
The sequence of military camps in the area around the estuary of the river Enns (Stein-St. Pantaleon, Enns and Albing) underline the strategic importance of the Danube crossing to the Aist valley in the border region between Upper and Lower Austria and the presence of the Roman troops at this section of the ripa Norica even in the early Roman Empire becomes clear.
The fort at Çitköy-Sabus reconsidered
This paper sets out previous views on the fort at Sabus on the Euphrates frontier, and puts forward a re-assessment of the site and its visible remains. The evidence is that as originally constructed it was of a regular rectangular form, with an internal area of about 4 ha., and so suitable as the home for an Imperial period Ala. That being so, it may not be entirely coincidental that according to the Notitia Dignitatum, it was the base for a unit of equites sagittarii in the late 4th -early 5th century.
On the edge of the Roman Empire – a defensive system of the south region of Mauretania Tingitana
With the Roman conquest in 1st century AD, the North – West part of Africa became an official province named Mauretania Tingitana. Surrounded by the natural barriers – Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean and the Atlas Mountains – M. Tingitana had a unique character because of the natural isolation. The Romans have introduced their farming style taking the land of the local inhabitants making it less available for pasture. In view of the Roman military dominance, local tribes had to accept the Rome’s rules and to yield the Roman law. It might be a reason for the conflicts with local societies where traditionally animal husbandry played a key role. Rich merchant cities like Volubilis or Colonia Sala needed protection which could be provided by the army. It is significant that no single legion has stationed in Tingitana but the relatively large number of the auxiliary units could manage the security of the frontier. But how did the Romans controlled the borders of their territory in that part of Africa? The southern border zone between Colonia Sala and Volubilis is particularly interesting because of preserved remains of defensive system. Nonetheless, our knowledge of this system is not complete and some questions still remain without the answers. The idea of M. Euzennat describing the frontier of Tingitana as the limes frontier is still rather controversial. How therefore the Romans secured that frontier and what was the role of preserved forts in the Volubilis and Colonia Sala region? Remains of the forts in Tocolosida, Sidi Moussa, Aïn Schkour and Sidi Saïd, as well as those nearby Colonia Sala connected with the watchtowers, could be helpful in understanding the security of the frontier. No traces of the military constructions remains between the southern cities is very thought-provoking. Perhaps this frontier has functioned with a different method based on some of the local tribes cooperation with the Roman authorities which can be partially confirmed by the peace treaties found in Volubilis. Researchers on the defensive system of the ancient cities Volubilis and Colonia Sala give a very interesting insight into the problem of controlling the southern borders of the province.
- Euzennat Maurice, Le Limes de Tingitane. La frontier Meridionale, Paris, 1989
- Le Bohec Yann, Histoire de L’Afrique Romaine, Paris, 2005
- Rouland-Mareschal H., „Limes de Tingitane au Sud de Sala colonia”, l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, t.13, 2e Partie, Paris, 1924
The Roman Fort in Hegra
Zbigniew T. Fiema
Ancient Hegra (Madâ’in Sâlih) was a major Nabataean political and commercial town on the Incense Route in the Arabian Peninsula. Following the annexation of the Nabataean Kingdom by Rome in 106 A.D., the town had continued as a Roman provincial centre. Since 2008, the Saudi-French Mission has carried out archaeological excavations at the settlement site. The massive rampart surrounding the town and the south-eastern gate were investigated, the former considered to be Nabataean, i.e., of the 1st century A.D. date, the latter yielding epigraphic evidence on the Roman military presence in the town. The explorations of the southern section of the rampart led to the discovery of a stone-built complex of a regular layout, which turned out to be a Roman fort garrisoned by the occupation forces.
The excavations of the fort revealed that it was constructed in the early 2nd century A.D., featuring massive perimeter walls, a gate flanked by two towers, a well-preserved corner tower and the internal barracks, all of which find good parallels in Roman military architecture. Major remodelling took place in the early–mid-3rd century, exemplified by the blocking of the gate and the construction of small buttresses against the southern wall. The fort appears to have been militarily abandoned by the end of the 3rd century but the presumably civilian occupation continued in the 4th.
The excavations provided produced a wealth of information on the chronology, building techniques and the material culture, including numerous ceramics (also the imported types), uncommon bronze objects, large number of coins and one Latin inscription. The fort in Hegra is a unique monument of this kind in Saudi Arabia, and it confirms the significant Roman presence in the NW part of the Arabian Peninsula.
Tradition and Innovation in the Trajanic Auxiliary Fort at Hauarra (Humayma), Jordan
Prof. John Peter Oleson, University of Victoria, Canada
Twenty-five years of excavation and research by the author at the Trajanic auxiliary fort of Hauarra on the Arabian frontier have yielded significant results concerning the application of a revolutionary fortification design combined with traditional planning procedures. Built immediately after Trajan’s conquest of the Nabataean kingdom in AD 106, the fort and its interior structures were carefully laid out in modules of the Roman foot, according to a system centuries old. The rectangular enceinte, however, was provided from the start with 24 square projecting towers, apparently the earliest known example of this type of plan, previously thought to be a development of the third century. The fort was manned by a detachment from the Legio III Cyrenaica, which had occupied the Nabataean territory. There appear to have been close connections between this fort and a fort with projecting towers built at the same time by another detachment of the same legion at Madâ’in Sâleh (Hegra), 400 km to the south. Excavations at Hauarra have documented a principia, praetorium, horreum, barracks, water-supply system, and a craft area that may have been a brewery, possibly the only brewery so far documented within a Roman fort. The praetorium was furnished with frescoes and mosaic floors with geometric decoration. The fort was abandoned during the Tetrarchy, reoccupied by a smaller force in the early fourth century (probably by a unit of camel-mounted archers), and finally abandoned in the late fourth century, probably as a result of the earthquake of 363. The paper will present the special features of this fort, one of the few well-preserved principate forts in the Near East,
Power Over or Power With? Monumentality in the Desert: the Roman legionary fortress of Udhruh (Jordan)
Monumentality in Roman military architecture has both a physical and an emotional aspect. The physical aspect is connected with the furnishing of a selected location with representative buildings and structures, and contributes to the physical monumental manifestation of these buildings and monuments both separately and together as a whole. Monumentality also has an emotional aspect which relates, inter alia, to ideology, troop cohesion, and domination. The intentions of such forms of monumentality are dependent on the builders-planners and on the intended target groups.
This paper focuses on such physical and intentional aspects of monumentality for the legionary fortress of Udhruh (Jordan). The location and layout of the curtain wall assemblages and the principia make clear that this military site was a remarkable political and territorial marker in a changing landscape.
The Danube limes fort from Pojejena in a new light of non-invasive prospections
Archaeological research at Pojejena were start again after a long break of almost 40 years. In this first campaign we used the geomagnetic prospecting, surveying and soil resistivity to see the archaeological site size and state of preservation of the fortification. We also watched using aerial photography to identify traces of walls, soil prints of architectural structures that might be visible in the field. The control section that we made in the civil settlement, in the close neighborhood it indicated a fairly compressed stratigraphy, the sequence of habitation levels not exceeding 90 cm deep. The archaeological material resulted largely boils down to ceramics, especially late roman pottery pieces.
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