33. General Session II

33. General Session II
Session Chair: 
Dr. Tatiana Ivleva

Session abstract: The general session will deal with subjects that do not fit into the other sessions because of the issues raised.  Given the importance of these subjects, they deserve a place on the congress programme. Therefore, this session offers a wide range of interesting papers.

Time Presenter (s) Presentation
09.00 Michaela Zelikova Recent research of Roman military intervention during the Marcomannic wars in the territory of today’s Moravia
09.20 Ildar Kayumov Reconstructing Heron’s Cheiroballistra: A Century and a Half of “Getting It Right”
09.40 Dé Steures Reading the Roman inscriptions exhibited in Lower Germany; in Latin and in English, Dutch or German translation
10.00 Jan Verhagen Roman Waterworks in the Rhine-Meuse delta
 

COFFEE BREAK

Recent research of Roman military intervention during the Marcomannic wars in the territory of today’s Moravia
Michaela Zelíková, Balázs Komoróczy, Marek Vlach, Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Gabriele Rasbach, German Archaeological Institute, Romano-Germanic Commission, Frankfurt am Main

Although one phase of intensive joint research activities towards the Roman temporary camps in the Middle Danube territory of Marcomanni has recently been concluded, the cooperation between the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, and the Romano-Germanic Commission of the DAI in Frankfurt am Main continues with an innovated strategy. Field activities, especially in the form of geophysical surveys and other non-invasive or less invasive methods (e. g., metal detector prospection), currently focus on detailed knowledge of the core of the Roman military occupation during the Marcomannic wars in the vicinity of the well-known site Mušov-Burgstall. Significant new results include, for example, the discovery of a new temporary camp in the cadastre of Drnholec, which presumably represents another element in the system of strategic protection of this central base. The newly discovered fortification structures at Burgstall indicate unprecedented dynamics in the Roman army presence at the site while generating new hypotheses and impulses for the following stages of research. The specific and unique degree of interconnectedness of the Roman military structures and the local Germanic community also makes it possible to formulate new questions and hypotheses about the extraordinary impact of the Roman military presence on the development of the whole Central European Barbaricum at the turn of the Early and Late Roman periods.

Reconstructing Heron’s Cheiroballistra: A Century and a Half of “Getting It Right”
Ildar Kayumov, Archaeological Society of the Republic of Bashkortostan

Since 1860s a short technical treatise entitled «Ηρωνος χειροβαλλίστρας κατασκευη και συμμετρία» attracted attention of such Greco-Roman artillery researchers as A. Vincent, V. Prou, and R. Schneider. In 1970s, E. Marsden and D. Baatz made an important contribution to understanding the handheld throwing engine described in the treatise, the cheiroballistra. The archaeological finds of the last 50 years from Romania, France, Morocco, and Bulgaria also played a significant role. But it was the last two decades that saw particularly heated debates around the construction of the cheiroballistra and witnessed multiple physical reconstructions. A multitude of theorists and experimenters, such as A. Wilkins, A. Iriarte, C. Miks, M.J.T. Lewis, D. Campbell, T. Rihll, B. Meißner, S. Seppänen and others, focused on the following major issues:

    • What was the diameter of the torsion springs of the cheiroballistra?
    • Is it acceptable to enter conjectures into the treatise?
    • What was the purpose of the crescent-shaped piece attached to the rear end of the stock and was it a withdrawal-rest of the gastraphetes type for the draw of a bowstring?
    • How powerful was this engine and did it have a tripod base?
    • Did the cheiroballistra arms rotate outside or inside of the torsion frame?

This paper provides a critical evaluation of the discussion and attempts at resolving most of the above issues with consideration of the tests of the author’s own reconstruction.

Reading the Roman inscriptions exhibited in Lower Germany; in Latin and in English, Dutch or German translation
Dé C. Steures, independent researcher

The user of the app is standing in front of a Roman inscription or finds a picture of it in a publication, and takes a picture: frontally, filling the format, the whole stone. A photo comparison with a database on the internet then brings to light the texts connected to the photo that looks most like it: Latin, exactly as on the stone; Latin, with all abbreviations and damages completed; and a line-by-line translation in the working language chosen by the user.

Now, an app is a vulnerable thing. As soon as the provider changes a comma in his source code, the app will not work anymore. The author will therefore present a dummy of a book with all 750 inscriptions treated this way to publishers. At the time of writing this abstract I have almost arrived at that point. In the book, inscriptions are presented per museum from Katwijk to Remagen. For a simple notation of the Latin I follow the example of the museum in Cologne.

Roman Waterworks in the Rhine-Meuse delta
Jan Verhagen, VU-University, Amsterdam

Within the natural system of the Rhine-Meuse delta (the Netherlands) Romans have created a shipping infrastructure through the construction of canals and dams and also harbours and quay works. This paper presents the main findings of the author’s thesis on Roman waterworks, which consists of a literature review and the results of field investigations by the author. The archaeologically most intensively investigated infrastructural element so far is the Canal of Corbulo (ca. 50 AD), between the estuaries of the Rhine and Meuse-Waal, mentioned by classical writers. Also three possible Roman canals, not mentioned by classical authors, have been identified in the subsurface of the delta. This contrasts with the Dam and Canals of Drusus (12-9 BC), which are mentioned by two classical authors and of which no remains are found. It is supposed that this is caused by the position of the works of Drusus within the fluvial system, which has almost completely eroded their remains. Research should then target on more indirect data. An investigation was conducted near the Roman delta bifurcation of Rhine and Waal, where Drusus’ Dam was situated to influence the water division between the Rhine branch and the Waal. The recent investigations have provided a better insight in the subsurface, with the locations of newly discovered Roman period river courses and temporary military camps, in relation to the already known washed-out castellum remains. Another investigation was conducted in the area of the Utrechtse Vecht, which is considered the most plausible option of a large number of hypotheses about the location of Drusus’ canals. Here, extensive coring research has been carried out on a part of the Vecht river that may have originated as a canal and may have evoluated into a river course as a result of river water inflow.