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 Balázs Komoróczy Recent research of Roman military intervention during the Marcomannic wars in the territory of today’s Moravia
09.20 Dé Steures Reading the Roman inscriptions exhibited in Lower Germany; in Latin and in English, Dutch or German translation
09.40 Jan Verhagen Roman Waterworks in the Rhine-Meuse delta
10.00 Ian Longhurst Chesters Road Bridge

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.

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.

Chesters Road Bridge
Ian Longhurst,

The Romans originally carried Hadrian’s Wall across the North Tyne at Chesters on a pedestrian bridge. Later the pedestrian bridge was demolished and replaced with a road bridge. Beyond its existence, nothing about this road bridge is correctly understood. M.J.T. Lewis rightly suggested that the archaeology at Chesters was of a river wharf. (“Roman navigation in northern England? A second look” Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society vol. 32 (1995) 417-422). The wharf has instead been misinterpreted as a grossly oversized bridge abutment.

    1. No one leaves a road bridge exactly on the military frontier. An outwork, most likely along the line of General Wade’s road, had to protect the bridge.
    2. The stone riverside quay had a wheel stop fitted to the edge to allow carts to be loaded directly from barges in the river.
    3. The road bridge serviced resupply convoys whenever the army invaded Scotland and was built for the move to the Antonine Wall. Routing supplies for the army in Scotland through Chesters avoided a 150 metre hill on Dere Street and made additional fodder resources available.
    4. Later, the quay was extended and a water course constructed at the back of the quay, to combat the silting up of the quay.
    5. In a probable late Roman phase, when the quay was entirely silted up, a timber quay structure was probably built in front of the stone quay, presumably for another invasion of Scotland.
    6. Sick and wounded soldiers were brought back on the empty supply carts, suggesting a hospital function at Chesters.
    7. The bridge was the probable head of navigation. Developing the Tyne for navigation as far as Chesters under Antoninus Pius opens a question on river navigation on the Neckar in his reign.