Iron Ingot text

Vindolanda Trust - Monday, September 12, 2016

A few months ago excavations in the 3rd century extramural settlement recovered a remarkable artefact. An ingot made from iron with an inscription on it. We had various readings coming through the email, many noble attempts at getting a sensible reading. After considering all you can find our best effort on what we think the message on the ingot means. It is not a definitive reading, but a plausible explanation. Our thanks go to Adam Stanford for the wonderful photographs. Best wishes, Andrew and Anthony Birley

Ingot Line 1 - side 1. 

Line 2, side 2. 

Possible reading:

line 1   ϽIVLI S/

line 2   EVRIA

 This could be interpreted as:

Ͻ (=centuria) Iuli S/ev(e)ria(ni)

“century of Julius Sev(e)ria(nus)”.

 Notes: the text above assumes that the inscription starts on the top side, here line 1, and continues on the other, underneath side, i.e. S comes at the end of the top side and the name is continued below.

The fourth letter in line 1 looks more like I but could have been intended as L. In line 2 the third and fourth letters are heavily ligatured and in the process the E which is needed for the name here suggested was omitted.  The combination of names “Julius Severianus” is very suitable for a centurion, very many of whom were called Julius and Severianus is a not uncommon cognomen.

Needless to say the above reading remains hypothetical. No other inscribed iron ingots are listed in RIB II and in fact we haven’t so far found references to any elsewhere. It was clearly no easy task to inscribe iron, and the inscription may have been etched onto the artefact whilst the ingot was still slightly molten. 

Excavations from above

Vindolanda Trust - Friday, August 19, 2016

Photographs by Adam Stanford

As has become the norm for the past couple of seasons at Vindolanda we have been delighted to welcome back Adam Stanford to the site as part of the recording process. Adam uses a drone to take high resolution film and still images of the site and excavation areas which he then transforms into 3D models. The stills below have been taken from two of the models. Adam will return at the end of the season and re-capture both areas, and you will be able to see how they have progressed and changes in the final two months of excavation. 

Figure 1. The extramural settlement.

In this image you can clearly see that large sandstone blocks that make up the foundation of the 3rd century extramural buildings and the paving slabs for the road. You can also see the dark spaces which represent the line of the Severan fort ditch. The ditch has produced over 250 Roman shoes thus far, and the central area will be excavated in the next three to four weeks.

Figure 2. The 3rd and 4th century fort.

Here you can make out the outline of the large 4th century barracks, and below them in the southern end of the image, and against the south fort wall, the Severan period Romano-British style round houses. Not all of the houses are perfectly round, but the neatly laid out rows of the buildings are clearly visible.