34. New Research Moesia

Phil Nemanja Mrđić

Affiliation: Institute of Archaeology

Time Presenter (s) Presentation
09.00 Introduction
09.20 Lucretiu Birliba The mobility of soldiers coming from rural milieu of Moesia Inferior: the alae and the cohortes
09.40 Nemanja Mrđić Legionary fortress at Viminacium and the Principia of the VII Claudia Legion
10.00 Piotr Zakrzewski What did and what did not change in the fortification system of Novae (Lower Moesia) – the legionary base of legio VIII Augusta and I Italica?
 

COFFEE BREAK

10.50 Goran Stojić Transformation of the Roman military landscape in the Late Antiquity – case study of the western rampart area of the legionary fort at Viminacium
11.10 Ivan Bogdanović Is Anybody out there? Viminacium Legionary Fortress in Late Antiquity
11.30
11.50
 

LUNCH BREAK

The mobility of soldiers coming from rural milieu of Moesia Inferior: the alae and the cohortes
Lucretiu Birliba, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

The mobility of soldiers coming from the rural milieu of Moesia Inferior was paid attention in a more general frame of soldiers’ mobility in the Roman Empire. This paper will focus on a case study of the milites of alae and cohortes: I shall try to reconstitute the directions of their mobility, starting with the recruitment, continuing with their service area(s), and finishing with the end of their service. How many stayed in the province where they served, how many entered home? I shall analyze the mobility vectors and the distances traveled by these soldiers.

Legionary fortress at Viminacium and the Principia of the VII Claudia Legion
Nemanja Mrđić, Milica Marjanović, Snežana Golubović, Institute of Archaeology

Viminacium and its legionary fortress were the most important military stronghold in the Upper Moesia. Systematic geophysical surveys have been conducted since 2001 covering almost entire area of the castrum. Preliminary excavations were done in 1882 and 1902, and work on legionary fortress in Viminacium continued about 100 years after that – in the 2003 parts of Porta Praetoria were excavated. First systematic research begun in 2016, when segments of the ramparts closing the area between West and North gates have been researched, along with the gates and towers. Most recent research were focused on principia and excavation begun in 2020, in southeast corner of the building, moving northwards towards opposite corner. Proton magnetometer provided us with outer walls of the building and some details within. Ground penetrating radar was used in the northeast section giving detailed information on state of preservation and further distribution of rooms. Excavations resulted in documenting parts of the forum, tribunal, portico, and multiple rooms along the south and east sides. Sections of heating and water supply systems were also excavated. Multiple building phases are identified and correspond to the chronology of the castrum previously established. One coin hoard discovered in room 3 dates potential disaster into the years after 330 AD, but no final destruction phase of the building and castrum is yet defined. Latest results as well as quantity of finds suggest that Viminacium fortress was rather abandoned than destroyed.

What did and what did not change in the fortification system of Novae (Lower Moesia) – the legionary base of legio VIII Augusta and I Italica?
Piotr Zakrzewski, Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw

The legionary fortress of Novae was set up over the southern shore of the Lower Danube in the province of Moesia by the Eight Augustan legion. Established probably around the reign of emperor Claudius, it was the easternmost legionary base in the European part of the Roman limes at the time. The first fortification system defenses were composed of loess rampart with a palisade placed on top together with wooden square towers and a system of V-shaped ditches. Available information indicate that they remained in use without significant alterations until the departure of the Augustan legion in AD 69. After the arrival of legio I Italica, probably in AD 72, in the beginning of the 2nd century AD the entire military base underwent many alterations. Most notably, the main camp buildings and the defensive structures were rebuilt in stone. Although the changes greatly affected the architectural design and defensive properties of the new fortification system, the layout and localization of its main elements were apparently very similar to their earth and wooden predecessors. Thanks to the extensive archaeological works conducted at the site between 1960-1990 by the Bulgarian-Polish Archaeological Expedition and a decade-long post excavation project Per lineam munitionum, devised and led by the late Tadeusz Sarnowski, it was possible to recreate the history of both fortification systems, including their building sequence, later alterations, repair and maintenance works made until they fell into disuse at the beginning of the 7th century AD.

Transformation of the Roman military landscape in the Late Antiquity – case study of the western rampart area of the legionary fort at Viminacium
Goran Stojić, Center for new technologies, Milica Marjanović, Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade

Turbulent political events of the last decades of the 3rd century brought about significant changes to the military installations across the Roman Empire, including the province of Moesia Superior. New discoveries in the area of the western rampart of the legionary fort at Viminacium, and architectural and functional changes that started in the middle of the 3rd century are the subject of this paper. Recent systematic excavations at Viminacium have uncovered, among other things, segments of the western rampart of the legionary fort, the gate, towers, fortification ditch and surrounding facilities. It was noticed that the ditch had already lost its defensive function during the 3rd century, after which it was gradually backfilled with layers of soil and different types of objects serving various purposes that were later erected above it (kilns, economic buildings, graves). The space remained in use for some time in its new form, and was afterwards abandoned rather than destroyed. Changes in the function of the area in the Late Antiquity were caused by changes of the political-economic and perhaps demographic situation that left its mark on the material remains. The change of purpose of the area west of the ramparts of the military fortification could imply military changes (abandonment of the fort), but also the influence of demographic factors, i.e. related to the expansion of the city to the east.

Is Anybody out there? Viminacium Legionary Fortress in Late Antiquity
Ivan Bogdanović, Ljubomir Jevtović, Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade

Viminacium was an important military base, located at the confluence of the Mlava and the Danube rivers, within the province of Moesia Superior and Moesia Prima in the later period. During most of its history, it was the home of the Legio VII Claudia. According to recent archaeological excavations in the North-western part of the fortress and broader area of the principia, it was possible to define two main phases of the construction, as well as layers and features that date back to the late Roman period. This paper deals with the appearance of the legionary fortress in Late Antiquity. Based on destructed walls and ramparts, the filled V-shaped ditch, graves and buildings from the late Roman period, it is possible to suggest that the fortress was abandoned during the 4th century AD. In this paper, we will discuss the reasons for its abandonment, while we will also tackle the question of the plausible location of the legion in Late Antiquity.