Pevensey Castle: Roman signs

IMG_6359-Edit

Pevensey Castle © David Gill

The west gate of the Roman Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey is marked (in the path) with a Ministry sign. The gate itself is flanked by massive bastions. The Roman walls in effect became an outer bailey for the medieval castle.

IMG_6336-Edit

Pevensey Castle, Roman west gate © David Gill

Pevensey Castle: guidebooks

Pevensey_green

1952 (repr. 1956)

Sir Charles Peers prepared the post-war guidebook to Pevensey Castle in 1952. The monument incorporates part of the Roman Saxon Shore fort. The guidebook contains a history followed by a description. A foldout plan is placed inside the back cover. A number of black and white photographs are included.

Pevensey_blue

1952 (rev. with additions 1963)

Peers’ guide continued to be published through the 1960s. The pictures were placed as a block rather than slotted through the text.

Pevensey_DOE

1970

A souvenir guide was prepared by Derek F. Renn in 1970. He had previously prepared a similar souvenir guide for three shell keeps in the west country. Renn later wrote the official guidebooks to a number of sites in England and Wales.

Pevensey_EH

1999 (rev. 2011)

The English Heritage guidebook is prepared by John Goodall. This starts with a tour and description, and then a section on the history. There is a special section on the Second World War defences. A colour plan is provided inside the back cover.

Jupiter Dolichenus at Vindolanda

IMG_3875-Edit

Vindolanda, temple of Jupiter Dolichenus © David Gill

The sanctuary of Jupiter Dolichenus lies just inside the northern ramparts of the fort at Vindolanda. It was excavated in 2009.

IMG_3915-Edit

Vindolanda, altar of Jupiter Dolichenus © David Gill

One of the finds was a stone inscribed altar (now displayed in the museum). It bears a relief of Jupiter standing on the back of a bull. The inscription is dedicated to Jupiter Dol<o>chenus by Sulpicius Pudens, prefect of the Fourth Cohort Gallorum.

Sulpicius Pudens also appears on a second altar dedicated to Jupiter (but not Jupiter Dolichenus) that was found at Staward Pele in 1885 (RIB 1688). The earliest dedication to Jupiter was probably made by the prefect Quintus Petronius Urbicus dating to 213-235 (RIB 1686). Another prefect also made a dedication to Jupiter (RIB 1687). A fourth inscription, dedicated Naevius Hilarus, probably came from Vindolanda (RIB 2062). Some of these may have been dedicated in the praetorium building.

The Fourth Cohort Gallorum was stationed at Vindolanda from c. 213 to 367. The unit is identified in an inscription of c. 213 (RIB 1705). The unit is recorded in a building inscription of 223 (RIB 1706); it probably relates to the rebuilding of the south gate of the fort. The cohort is recorded on an inscription that dates to the reign of Probus, 276–282 (RIB 1710). Another prefect, Pituanius Secundus, erected an altar to the genius of the praetorium at Vindolanda (RIB 1685).

IMG_4335

Altar dedication by Quintus Petronius Urbicus from Vindolanda, Chesters Museum © David Gill

Caerwent: Guidebooks

caerwent38

Caerwent © David Gill

The Roman town of Venta Silurum at Caerwent, Wales, has impressive walls as well as the excavated remains of some the public buildings.

The original Ministry guidebook was prepared by Oswin E. Craster. It follows the standard format of History and Description, with a foldout plan inside the back cover. The later editions contained a reconstruction of the town by Alan Sorrell.

Caerwent

(1951) [1970]

This was replaced by a Cadw guide by Richard J. Brewer. This contained a history followed by a tour guide. There is a foldout plan inside the back card cover. There are numerous colour illustrations including finds from the site.

 

Caerwent

1993

A second edition of the guide, in larger format, was published in 1997.

Cerwent_Cadw_2

1993 (2nd ed. 1997)

A third edition in a yet larger format appeared in 2006. This contains details of recent excavations at the site.

The new guide also included a section on the nearby Llanmelin Wood Hillfort.

Caerwent_cadw_2006

1993 (2nd ed. 1996; 3rd ed. 2006)

Ministry signs on St Mary’s

Porth_Hellick_sign

Porth Hellick Down © Patrick Taylor

The ancient monuments on St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly received Ministry signs. The chambered tomb on Porth Hellick Down is described as ‘the best preserved tomb of all those in the islands’, echoing O’Neil’s guidebook, ‘perhaps the best preserved of all those in the islands’. Again, ‘a few potsherds have been found in the chamber’, follows, ‘a few potsherds have been found in this tomb’.

Innisidgen_sign

Innisidgen © Patrick Taylor

At Innisidgen the sign starts with the same description as Porth Hellick. The description in the guidebook, ‘Nothing is known to have been found in the chamber’, follows the sign, ‘the chamber has long since been rifled of its contents’.

Innisidgen_lower_sign

Lower Innisidgen © Patrick Taylor

The sign at Lower Innisidgen echoes the others.

Bants_Carn_sign

Bants Carn © Patrick Taylor

The sign notes, ‘Cremated bones and pieces of pottery were found in the chamber many years ago’, whereas the guidebook states, ‘Four piles of cremated bones were found at the inner end of the chamber many years ago, as well as some pieces of pottery in the passage just outside the entrance to the chamber’.

BantsCarn_village_sign

Bants Carn Ancient Village © Patrick Taylor

Near to Bants Carn Burial Chamber is a village. The sign and guidebook place it to the 2nd–3rd centuries AD, describing it as ‘Roman period’ or even ‘Romano-British’. The sign and guidebook talks of ’round or oval huts … built of large, well-laid granite blocks’. The guidebook continues ‘Paths and garden plots or small fields may also be detected’.

HarrysWalls_sign

Harry’s Walls © Patrick Taylor

A later monument is the artillery fort known as Harry’s Walls.

We are grateful to Patrick Taylor for digitising the images.

Looting at Corbridge

IMG_2896

Corbridge © David Gill

Historic England has noted that metal-detectorists have been active on part of the scheduled Roman site at Corbridge in Northumberland.

Do we need to change the language used to describe such activity? Do archaeologists need to start talking about the intellectual implications of such illegal activity? What information is being lost from the finite archaeological record?

Further details can be found on Looting Matters.

Margam Stones Museum: guidebook

Margam_MPBW

1949 (2nd impress. 1967)

The guidebook presents the collection of a Roman milestone, early Christian inscriptions, and later monastic material that were moved into the old School House at Margam in 1932.

The guidebook by C.A. Ralegh Radford starts with a history of the area that allows the material in the museum to be placed in context: The Silures and Glamorgan in the Roman period; the restoration of native rile and the introduction of Christianity; the early Christian memorial stones; the formation of Glamorgan; the Celtic monastery at Margam; the pre-Romanesque crosses; the later history of the kingdom of Morgannwg; the Norman conquest of Glamorgan; the Cistercian abbey of Margam.

The second half includes a description of the pieces, starting with the early 4th century Roman milestone from Port Talbot (RIB 2254).

The guidebook includes a plan of the museum showing how the stone were displayed.