Caerleon: amphitheatre

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Caerleon amphitheatre © David Gill

The amphitheatre is located outside the Roman legionary fortress at Isca Silurum (Caerleon). It was probably constructed c. AD 90.  The buttresses supporting the banks can be  clearly seen around the southern entrance that provided one of the two main access points to the arena.

The amphitheatre was excavated by (Sir) Mortimer Wheeler, who also wrote the original Ministry guidebook.

The amphitheatre is in the care of Cadw.

Chesters Roman Fort: defences

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Chesters Roman fort © David Gill

The Roman cavalry fort at Chesters is partially excavated and is now in the care of English Heritage. There are substantial remains of the south-east angle tower. An interval tower was placed between the angle and the south gate.

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Chesters Roman fort © David Gill

Masada: Roman siegeworks

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Masada, Camp F © David Gill

The remains of the Roman siegeworks of Masada have been preserved in the desert. The main fort was located on the western side of Masada, opposite the northern palace. One of the roles was to provide a location of troops close to the siege ramp that was being constructed.

The siege wall can be seen in front of the fort heading for the edge of the wadi.

One of the current issues facing the forts is that increased visitor numbers threaten their preservation.

Reference
Gwyn Davies. “Under Siege: The Roman Field Works at Masada.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 362, 2011, pp. 65–83. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5615/bullamerschoorie.362.0065.

The Antonine Wall: Legio XX

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Cast of inscription from Hutcheson Hill, now in Chesters Museum © David Gill

In 1865 a Latin inscription (RIB 2198) was recovered at Hutcheson Hill in the western section of the Antonine Wall. Casts were made and the original was taken to the Chicago Museum where it was destroyed in the great fire of October 1871. [See also Canmore]

The inscription records a vexillatio of the 20th Legion Valeria Victrix that had constructed 3000 feet of the wall.

Another inscription, now in the Hunterian Museum, was found in 1969 near Hutcheson Hill and similarly records a vexillatio of the same legion that had constructed 3000 feet of the wall (AE 1971, no.225) [JSTOR].

A third inscription of the Twentieth Legion probably comes from near Duntocher (RIB 2199).

vexillatio of the Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis was found at Duntocher (RIB 2200). This stretch was 3240 feet.

 

 

 

 

Vindolanda: Roman milestone

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Vindolanda, Roman milestone © David Gill

The Roman milestone on the Stanegate near Vindolanda was placed in State Guardianship (‘Chesterholm Roman Milestone’). The fort was place in State Guardianship in 1939 and also had Ministry signs.

A second milestone lies one Roman mile to the west. It originally carried the inscription, bon[o] reipublic[ae] nato (RIB 2308).

The 1959 Regional Guide notes: ‘The earliest occupation dates from the time of Agricola whose road, the Stanegate, runs past the north gate of the fort and retains, near the burn, a Roman milestone; the base of another (not in the Ministry’s guardianship) stands a Roman mile to the west.’

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Vindolanda, Roman milestone © David Gill

I have a photograph of the milestone from the late 1970s with some of the bushes encroaching on its space and obscuring the line of the road.

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Vindolanda, Roman milestone © David Gill

Vallum at Cawfields

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Vallum to the south of Cawfields © David Gill

A particularly fine stretch of the the vallum can be found running to the south of Hadrian’s Wall at Cawfields (MC42). The photograph shows the line of the flat-bottomed ditch with the two banks on either side.

High Rochester: Mars and Hercules

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Inscription from High Rochester, Great North Museum © David Gill

The fort at High Rochester (Bremenium) in Northumberland was one of the most northerly outposts of the Roman Empire. The inscription, now in the Great North Museum, was discovered near to the east gate of the fort c. 1776 (RIB 1284). It was then displayed in Alnwick Castle.

The Latin text records work by a unit, vexillatio, of the 20th Legion Valeria Victrix. The inscription is flanked by figures of Mars and Hercules. Below appears to be a boar, the emblem of the legion.

A building inscription for a vexillatio of the 6th Legion Pia Fidelis is also known from the site (RIB 1283).

These two units may have been posted here, not necessarily simultaneously, to reinforce the northern frontier.