Full Version: Roman Military sites
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Hi Group

Hello all. I've just joined and look forward to being a member. I have a keen interest in visiting Roman Military archaeological sites (the most interesting of which have so far been the cavalry fort of Qasr B'Shir in Jordan -WOW!!, the military complex around Misenum/Cumae for base of the Roman fleet, shipyards on Lake Avernus, military tunnel to Cumae and the fantastic cistern, Piscina Mirabilis at Bacoli and, in the UK, Portchester (for it's positon and excellently preserved curtain walls) and various forts on, or near, Hadrians Wall). Have been to Bostra, Syria, base of Legio III Cyrenaica - military camp not excavated but huge Roman reservoir is still in use and the interior of the theatre is completely intact. I've also been to Haidra, Tunisia - first base of Legio III Augusta and am just organising for an Algerian trip - in particular Tebessa (2nd base of Leg. III), Lambaesis (3rd and final base of Leg. III) and Timgad (the superb veteran colony near Lambaesis on the edge of the Sahara).

Can anyone point me to useful sources for Roman Algeria?

Which is your favourite Roman Military site, where exactly is it and why did it enthrall you?


First, a good welcome on this site. I hope you'll enjoy it. It is a nice source of information.

With your question about algeria I can't help, but you could try to search on [url:3si142hq][/url]

My favorite Roman military site is the site of the Kops Plateau, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. It has 3 building stages within a century and also seems to be used as a recruitment center for the Ala I Batavorum. The reason I like this site is because of the link with cavalry, but also as I used to have my schools sports courses on that site Big Grin
(the school itself is located on the site of the big Castra next to it). Anyway, as I'm born and live in Nijmegen, my main interest is in the the Roman history of this area, but I strongly believe that you must know a broader view to have a good view on a particular site.
My favorite is definitely Vindolanda.

No where else comes close!
Having worked at both Chesters and Housesteads on Hadrians' Wall, I have to say Housesteads for it's powerfull impression of frontier, and Chesters for it's tranquillity.
Indeed Vindolanda is also on the top of the list, and probably my favorite when I'm not taking Nijmegen into account. Housesteads and Chesters are also great, and impressive, but I found Vindolanda nicer, but mainly because of the finds that are found there. Anyway Hadrians Wall area is nice anyway, not only the sites, but also the landscape in general.
Hi again.

I have to agree (in part) with you all that the best military sites in the UK are Housesteads, Vindolanda and Chesters - but for imposing position I'd also add Hardknott castle (and parade ground) guarding the Hardknott and Wrynose passes in the Lake District. But I believe these pale when compared to Qasr B'Shir, surrounded by the Jordanian desert, in an excellent state of preservation and the only Roman fort in the world with its' dedicatory inscription still in place, and the colonia of Timgad in Algeria. I also have an affinity to Diocletian's Camp at Palmyra, Syria (particularly the Temple of the Standards).

I'll bet you must have photos of those places in Syria....

How about posting some? ( one picture's worth a thousand words and all that) :wink: :wink: Smile D
Ave Fratres,

My favorite site is the Saalburg in the Taunus mountains outside of Frankfurt. It is an adequate Wilhelmine reconstruction but just the location always seemed to me to be evocative of serving on the frontier. Whenever we would rotate up to the IGB for duty, I always tried to get a visit to the Saalburg in to help keep things in perspective. There are lots of Saalburg pictures on the web and I think one of our recreated legions is based in that area.

Regards from an unseasonably cool Scupi Arminius Primus aka Al
I imagine Vindolanda to be the prime posting on the wall, especially for a commander with a wife. Possibly coloured
by the tablets, but I would imagine a woman would be happier in vindolanda, than up on Houssteads, which has a pheomenal location, but I can imagine is pretty miserable in the winter..... Confusedhock:

I have to admit, I will always have a fond spot for little Lunt, as it is the base of my Legion the XIIIIth.

I have to get to a few others though to be truely sure of what would be my favorite. York is facinating too btw
Oh well, since you ask .... Caerleon (Isca).

Why? Because it's all there - barrack blocks (only legionary ones exposed in Europe), amphitheatre (biggest completely excavated one in Britain), baths and a cracking museum with half a million bits to keep people like me occupied for many years to come. It's the only legionary base that you can still see in Britain. All the others are under modern towns, Lincoln, Chester, York, Colchester, Gloucester, Exeter, etc. Sometimes their street plans follow the outline of the fortress (as in Gloucester) - but there's nothing to actually see in these places. At Caerleon you can see where the soldiers lived, where they socilaised and where they amused themselves.

Another 'plus' is that it isn't very far from Caerwent (Venta Silurum) - a more or less complete 'civitas' capital, with walls up to 17 feet high in places. There is a basilica, Romano-British temple, rows of shops, a courtyard house and a very useful little visitor's centre.

(Mike Thomas)
I, too, really enjoyed my visit to Caerleon - to walk among the barrack blocks of a legionary base was an awesome experience. Mind you, I was there a long time ago - 1978. Earlier in that same trip, I visited Housesteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall and walked a short stretch of the Wall with Professor Eric Birley - just the two of us. The weather contributed to the "atmosphere" of the place - very windy and clouds moving across the sky. He had to do a little persuading before the staff at Housesteads would let us walk the Wall due to those high winds. Of course, Vindolanda was wonderful, too, and Professor Birley introduced me to his son, Robin - I believe (my journal from that trip is at home) - who was in charge at Vindolanda at the time. Spending the two weeks with Eric Birley made it an especially memorable trip.
Visiting sites on the continent is still on my to-do list if I can ever afford to travel like that again - Kalkriese, Haltern and Xanten top my list. The Augustan period of the Roman Army and Augustus' German wars are of greatest interest to me.
I would have to say the late Roman naval fort of Portus Adurni or Porchester (I know the identification is still a matter of debate) - I grew up both in Lanchester in Co. Durham near the fort of Longovicium and then Portsmouth - so as a child was surrounded first the the remains of Hadrian's Wall and its forts and then later with the magnificent bastion walls of Portus Adurni on the Solent - it was the latter fort which really sparked off my interest in the late Roman period as it gave me an insight into another aspect of Roman military history - namely a naval command focused on preventing Saxon incursions (Again I know that is also a matter of debate but I am speaking of how I responded to it at the time!). The walls are very impressive especially against the backdrop of an ever-changing sea with a coast-line along the walls that is practically unchanged since the structure was built. Very evocative!