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The Severan period
Topic Started: Jun 25 2007, 09:58 AM (467 Views)
SacoHarry
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OK. So I'm reading the 05-06 excavation report. (Excellent stuff, IMHO.) A thought re the Severan period: It just seems too weird, and too small, to be a fort doesn't it? To my very amateur eye, it looks more like a place where one very important person ruled with a small number of hand-picked guards. Could it have been Severus and his praetorians? Was it well-built enough for an Emperor?

I know, I know. Everybody always wants their favorite site to have been the biggest & the best & the most important. So maybe it's cheeky even to consider it. But there's evidence of an enormous, well-built building fit for Hadrian from the 120s isn't there? Not to mention all the new evidence of Legionary activity and extremely well-built Antonine structures. It seems like Vindolanda was a place well-known for 80 years as a good spot for important people to do important things.

- Harry
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SacoHarry
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Yeah. Those freaking roundhouses. :D

Things that (to me) make no sense:

1: The size of the Severan fort. It's tiny, less than 1/3 as big as the Antonine fort. Surely it wasn't intended as a fort in the usual sense.

2: The general shape. It's all out of whack. Somebody with clout changed the rules bigtime. Who in the Empire was allowed to do that?

3: Locating the fort on the sloping ground west of the Antonine fort. Wouldn't the Antonine platform have been a much easier building site?

4: The lack of anything resembling a usual headquarters. It looks like the relationship between the commander & the troops was unusual. Was this group of soldiers subject to radically different routines & regimens? Why?

5: The lack of a defensive ditch on the east side. Even if the roundhouse occupants were "good guys" and not "potentially bad guys," surely you've got to have a ditch all the way around your fort, don't you?

So what was going on? Emperor's field camp? Staging point for reconstruction of the Wall, using local labor in local-type houses doing on-site construction work? Temporary citadel of an undocumented usurper with a combo of Romanized soldiery & a loyal band of local tribesmen?

Or just a bad idea for a "new model fort" that died out almost as soon as the plaster was dry?

- H
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