RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Camp Cooking
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I'm sure this question has a rather obvious answer, but I can't seem to find it anywhere... In a Roman marching camp, where did the soldiers do their cooking? I know there were ovens (portable?) for baking bread, but surely some sort of smaller cooking fires would be needed as well. Where would these be placed? Individual fires (one for each contubernium?) might be laid between the tent rows, but this could be hazardous, especially during alerts. Might there have been a seperate area of the camp set aside for cooking fires then? I don't recall whether Gary Brueggeman's site had anything about this - since it's temporarily out of action I can't check.<br>
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Any suggestions? <p></p><i></i>
<em>In a Roman marching camp, where did the soldiers do their cooking? I know there were ovens (portable?) for baking bread, but surely some sort of smaller cooking fires would be needed as well. Where would these be placed? Individual fires (one for each contubernium?) might be laid between the tent rows</em><br>
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Clamp ovens and the occasional (latrine) pit are about all you find in temporary camps, a good example being the recent work in Rey Cross (see Blaise Vyner, <em>Stainmore. The Archaeology of a North Pennine Pass</em>, Tees Archaeology Monograph Series vol.<strong>1</strong>, Hartlepool 2001)<br>
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Part of the reason for this is that the traces of occupation in temporary camps would be extremely ephemeral and vulnerable to agriculture, peat cutting, animal burrowing etc etc.<br>
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By analogy with barrack accommodation, where there was often a fire for each <em>contubernium</em>, a fire in front of the tent would be the logical solution <em>assuming</em> that there was felt to be a need to eat hot food all the time (which is not necessarily a given). The so-called labour camps at Inchtuthil appear to have had a single rubbish pit for each <em>contubernium</em>, so a fire each might follow from this. An area just for cooking seems unlikely other than the aforementioned clamp ovens (which tended to be distributed around the periphery of a camp for easy access).<br>
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Mike Bishop <p></p><i></i>
Thanks!<br>
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Looking through Webster's 'Imperial Roman Army', I notice that he provides an answer - apparently the Roman siege camps at Masada have traces of cooking hearths placed outside each tent - not exactly marching camps, but at least that proves it was done on campaign.<br>
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(I had considered some sort of portable brazier might have been used, which would not leave traces in the camps themselves, but then considered that such an item would surely have turned up by now! A simple firepit would, I suppose, have been more convenient.) <p></p><i></i>