Objects of Stone Including Inscriptions

The Inscribed Stones

IT has already been noted that the comparative absence of inscribed stones was a disappointing feature of the excavations. Apart from four tantalising fragments, the number of new inscriptions recovered was three. All of them were upon altars. A fourth altar had originally borne a dedication, but the surface had so far decayed as to render the letters wholly illegible. All four altars were found lying in positions which suggested that they had been concealed when the fort was finally abandoned. A detailed account of the discovery, in the well in the Principia, of the one dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus has been given above; its associations showed that it had been deposited there in post-Hadrianic times. Another, dedicated to Apollo, found in Pit LXXXIII, was only six feet from the surface, although the total depth of the pit was seventeen feet; it lay among the black deposit, while on the same level were picked up fragments of decorated Terra Sigillata characteristic of the second century. This second altar had clearly been thrust into an already existing rubbish pit. The two others were taken from the ditch of the East Annexe. In the following descriptions it will be convenient to include the two altars which were discovered many years ago upon the site.

Altar to the Campestres

1. An altar dedicated to the Campestres was found by Thomas Vair, weaver in Newstead, while ploughing in the field next the Red Abbeystead park, and about 200 yards east from it, in the year 1783. This altar, which is now in the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, is of red sandstone, and is two feet three inches in height and one foot broad. It shows little decoration. On the top are remains of the usual volutes with a circular focus between them. The base projects slightly and the inscribed panel is separated from the top by bands of moulding. For a number of years it was deposited in the Advocates' Library, from whence it