Trimontium

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Newstead Roman Fort (Trimontium) © David Gill

The Roman fort of Trimontium (Newstead) stands on the line of Dere Street. The site is marked by a Roman style ‘altar’ erected in 1928 by the Edinburgh Border Counties Association. A series of interpretation boards help visitors to make sense of the setting. The road that cut across the fort has now been closed to traffic and allows easy access.

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Newstead Roman Fort © David Gill

The Latin name is taken from the three hills, i.e. the Eildon Hills.

Small finds from the site are displayed in the museum at Melrose Abbey.

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Melrose Abbey Museum © David Gill

Signs of Dere Street

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Dere Street © David Gill

Dere Street ran north from York to the Firth of Forth, passing through Aldborough, Piercebridge, Corbridge and Newstead. A section of the Roman road can be followed to the south-west of Soutra Aisle as it cuts across the Lammermuir Hills before it drops down to the Forth.

The road continued in use into the Medieval period.

This section of the road is in the case of Historic Scotland.

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Dere Street near Soutra Aisle © David Gill

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Dere Street near Soutra Aisle © David Gill

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Dere Street at Soutra Aisle © David Gill

Legionary inscription in Scotland: Abbotsford

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Abbotsford © David Gill

A fragmentary Latin inscription is built (at an angle) into the garden wall of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott (RIB 2216). It was first known c. 1797 at Callendar House in Falkirk (see Canmore). This location has suggested that the inscription may have been linked to the Antonine Wall. Scott lived at Abbotsford from 1812-32.

The inscription reads: A vexi[llatio]  | of the XXI[I] legion | Primigenia.

At the top left appear to be the legs of what could be a Capricorn, the emblem of Legio XXII. This legion was posted in Upper Germany.

The Legio XXII is also attested from the Roman fort of Birrens, to the north-west of Carlisle (Canmore). An inscription attesting the presence of troops from Legio VIII Augusta and Legio XXII Primigenia was found in 1991 (Britannia 1992, 318, no. 20 [JSTOR]). It has been suggested that this inscription is Antonine in date, and probably associated with troop movements during the construction of the Antonine Wall.

Lincoln: Newport Arch and lorries

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1971

The Newport Arch forms the northern gateway of the Roman colonia of Lincoln. It is one of the most important pieces of extant Roman architecture in Britain. However it does seem to be vulnerable to lorries. A feature on the excavations at Lincoln appeared in a special number of Current Archaeology (May 1971; Christina Colyer, ‘Lincoln, pp. 67=71), and the cover showed the damage in 1964. The gate has been struck again today.

Local authorities need to restrict access to these important parts of our heritage.

Goldsborough Roman Signal Station

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Goldsborough Roman Signal Station looking south towards Whitby © David Gill

Goldsborough lies to the north of Whitby in Yorkshire. It was one of a series of Roman signal stations constructed along this piece of coastline.

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Goldsborough Roman Signal Station looking north © David Gill

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Goldsborough Roman Signal Station © David Gill

Other known signal stations lie at (from north to south): Huntcliff near Saltburn; Goldsborough; Ravenscar; Castle Hill at Scarborough; and Carr Naze at Filey.

There is an inscription from Ravenscar (RIB 721) that shows that the fort (turrem et castrum) was constructed by Vindicianus who is described as magister, a later rank. The overall commander was Justinianus. Anthony Birley dates the inscription to the 4th century.

Coins from Huntcliff suggest a date from c. 370 to c. 390.

John A. A. Goodall in his discussion of the signal station at Scarborough suggests two theories: a series of signal stations constructed in the wake of the ‘Barbarian Conspiracy’ of 367 (supported by William Hornsby through his excavations); or to the period of Magnus Maximus (383-388).

Bibliography

Bell, T.W. A Roman Signal Station at Whitby. Archaeological Journal 155 , 1 (1998), 303-22.

Hornsby, W., et al. The Roman Fort at Huntcliff, Near Saltburn. The Journal of Roman Studies 2 (1912), 215–32, www.jstor.org/stable/295958.

Hornsby, William, and John D. Laverick. The Roman Signal Station at Goldsborough, Near Whitby. Antiquaries Journal 89, 1 (1932), 203-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00665983.1932.10853589

Ottaway, Patrick, Richard Brickstock, John Carrott, H. E. M. Cool, Keith Dobney, Renée Gajowski, Sandra Garside-Neville, G. D. Gaunt, Allan Hall, Michael Issitt, Deborah Jaques, Frances Large & Jason Monaghan. Excavations on the Site of the Roman Signal Station At Carr Naze, Filey, 1993–94. Archaeological Journal 157, 1 (2000), 79-199.

Southern, P. Signals versus Illumination on Roman Frontiers. Britannia 21 (1990), 233–42, www.jstor.org/stable/526297.

Cadw Visitor Figures for 2015

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Tretower Court © David Gill

The 2015 visitor figures for Cadw sites are now available (for 2014 see here). (2014 numbers are in brackets.)

  1. Conwy Castle: 204,172  (184,758)
  2. Caernarfon Castle: 195,352 (175,216)
  3. Caerphilly Castle: 93,421 (107,887)
  4. Harlech Castle: 89,038  (75,512)
  5. Beaumaris Castle: 82,368 (86,854)
  6. Tintern Abbey: 70,808 (67,520)
  7. Castell Coch: 69,004 (69,418)
  8. Raglan Castle: 66,058 (59,385)
  9. Caerleon Roman Baths and Amphitheatre: 60,192 (55,977)
  10. Chepstow Castle: 59,463 (56,976)
  11. Criccieth Castle: 45,715  (43,528)
  12. Kidwelly Castle: 31,686 (29,359)
  13. St David’s Bishop’s Palace: 24,308 (24,646)
  14. Blaenavon Ironworks: 29,107 (22,467)
  15. Rhuddlan Castle: 25,872 (20,701)
  16. Plas Mawr: 23,658 (24,738)
  17. Carreg Cennen Castle: 23,345  (21,776)
  18. Cilgerran Castle: 19,416  (17,894)
  19. Laugharne Castle: 12,209  (15,807)
  20. Tretower Castle and Court: 13,587  (11,537)
  21. Denbigh Castle: 10,154 (12,584)
  22. Valle Crucis Abbey: 7,355  (8,117)
  23. White Castle: 7,682 (8,603)
  24. Oxwich Castle: 6,336  (6,070)
  25. Strata Florida Abbey: 5,280 (6,391)
  26. Dolwyddelan Castle: 4,645  (5,768)
  27. Lamphey Bishop’s Palace: 3,220  (2,856)
  28. Rug Chapel: 2,674 (3,387)
  29. Weobley Castle: 2,071  (2,495)
  30. Margam Stones Museum: 139  (438)

 

 

 

The Tomb of Classicianus

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Tomb of Classicianus, British Museum © David Gill

Two parts of the inscription from this funerary monument of Classicianus were found reused in the bastion of the Roman wall just to the north of the Tower of London in 1852 and 1935 (RIB 12). The bolster from the top of the tomb was found in the same location. This suggests that the monument was erected on the eastern side of the Roman settlement. The Roman wall dates to the 3rd century AD.

G. Iulius Alpinus Classicianus is described as the procurator of the Roman province of Britannia. He was appointed in AD 61, as a successor to Catus Decianus, in the wake of the revolt by Boudicca (Tacitus Annals xiv.38). Classicianus seems to have originated in Gaul. It appears that he died in office.

The monument was erected by Classicianus’ wife Iulia Pacata, daughter of Indus. Julius Indus is noted as a key person who countered the revolt of the Treveri in AD 21 (Tacitus Annals iii.42).

A revised reconstruction of the tomb and reconstruction is presented by Grasby and Tomlin.

Bibliography
Hawkes, C. F. C. “The Sepulchral Monument of Julius Classicianus.” The British Museum Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 2, 1935, pp. 53–56., www.jstor.org/stable/4421794.
Grasby, R. D., and R. S. O. Tomlin. “The Sepulchral Monument of the Procurator C. Julius Classicianus.” Britannia, vol. 33, 2002, pp. 43–75., www.jstor.org/stable/1558852.