Hadrian’s Wall inscriptions (Wallsend to Newcastle)

Introduction


The inscriptions come from four locations, with all again having moved as spolia prior to deposition.

Inventory

The first four inscriptions were seen by Horsley at Cousin’s House (later Carville Hall), which has subsequently been built over.

RIB 1309

RIB 1309

RIB 1309: c(o)ho(rtis) I / c(enturia) Flori (‘First cohort, century of Florus’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1310: coh(ortis) II / c(enturia) Vari Celeri[s] (‘Second cohort, century of Varius Celer’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend, now lost. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1311: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) Senti / Prisci (‘Third cohort, century of Sentius Priscus’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1312: coh(ortis) X / c(enturia) Iustini / Secundi (‘Tenth cohort, century of Iustinus Secundus’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend, now lost. Source: RIB II p.434

The next piece was seen built into an outbuilding at Stott’s House Farm.

RIB 1313: Imp… …co (?). Fragment seen in 1783 at Stott’s House Farm, Walker, now lost. Source: RIB II p.434

The only altar in this group comes from the likely site of Milecastle 3, on the eastern lip of the Ouse Burn valley.

RIB 1314

RIB 1314

RIB 1314: Iul(ius) Max/imus sac(erdos) / d(ei) I[…] / O[…] / pe[c{unia) sua] / cu[ravit] / […] (‘Iulius Maximus, priest of the god I[…] undertook from his own money…’). Altar found 1884 at the east end of Byker Bridge (probably from Milecastle 3). Source: RIB II p.434

The final building inscription comes from the valley of the Ouse Burn itself, re-used in the flint mill.

RIB 1315

RIB 1315

RIB 1315: c(enturia) Iuli Numisia/ni Ulpius Can/alius / et L(ucius) Goutius (‘century of Iulius Numisianus, Ulpius Canalius and Lucius Goutius (made this?)’). Building stone found in or before 1807 at Heaton flint mill. Source: RIB II pp.434–5

Analysis

These are almost exclusively centurial stones, originally built into the fabric of the curtain wall to mark the stints completed by various work gangs (the thinking is that a stone would be placed at either end of a stint). It is generally thought that these were only ever put into the south face of the wall, but a number are known in the north face (some quite low down), so the matter is still open for debate. In each case they usually record the name of the centurion, sometimes the number of the legionary cohort to which they belonged. Exceptionally, some (like RIB 1315) even mention names of those who erected them.

The altar from Milecastle 3 mentions a priest (sacerdos) and we know of  other examples in the Roman army, including priests of Jupiter Dolichenus. Altars are quite common finds at milecastles (we shall encounter several to Cocidius further to the west).

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