Pits and Wells, and their Contents

LEAVING the baths, we must glance briefly at other evidences of occupation furnished by the annexes to the south-east and west of the fort. As already noted, these enclosures probably served to protect the civil population which followed in the wake of the army. Probably, in a permanent fort, they also afforded shelter in troublous times to the herds of the garrison, for in posts lying out on the edge of the world like Newstead, the soldiers had no doubt to provide in a large measure their own supplies. Pasturage had to be found for the horses, the cattle, and the sheep. In the legionary camps inscriptions speak of the territorium legionis and the prata legionis.[1] We have also the record of soldiers who served as pecuarii[2] which suggests that they looked after the regimental flocks and herds. Again, the names of venatores or hunters occur on monuments, as on the altar dedicated to the god Silvanus by the hunters (venatores) of Banna, now preserved in the Priory of Lanercost.[3]

At Newstead, if we except one or two small fragmentary patches of cobbles by the sides of the roads running southwards, and a somewhat fragmentary foundation of a small building lying between the ditches on the north, no trace of dwelling-houses has survived in any of the annexes. On the other hand, scattered over them, and more particularly over the large annexe to the south, were numbers of pits or wells, a few lying within the area of the fort itself. No feature of the excavations gave more valuable results than the clearing out of these. They produced a collection of objects interesting no less for their variety than for their wonderful state of preservation.


2 DECCIVS L. F. PAPIRIA TICINI MILES LEG XX PEQVARIVS ANN(ORVM) XXXV STIPENDIORV(M) H. S. E. C.I.L. xiii. 8287. The function of the pecuarius was probably that of veterinary Surgeon. See Von Domaszewski, 'Die Rangordnung des römischen Heeres,' Bonner Jahrbücher, 117. I, p. 45.

3 DEO SANCTO SILVANO VENATORES BANN[A]E · S. C.I.L. vii 830; also Ephem. Epigr. iv. p. 531.