The Saxon Shore: Reculver

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Reculver, Late Roman walls © David Gill

One of the Late Roman Saxon Shore forts in Kent was located at Reculver. Although the northern parts of the fort have eroded into the sea, the line of the walls can be traced on the landward side, especially to the east.

Brougham Castle: Latin Inscription

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Latin inscription, Brougham Castle © David Gill

The 13th century keep of Brougham Castle, Cumbria incorporates reused masonry from the Roman fort (Brocavum). A Latin funerary inscription is built into the ceiling of the second floor (RIB 787). The person named is Tittus M[..] who died around the age of 32 (‘[pl]us minus’). The monument was set up by his brother.

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

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

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.