Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-lm8cj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-07T02:05:35.479Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Roman Roadworks near Vindolanda and the Cohors I Tungrorum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2017

Anthony R. Birley*
Vindolanda Trust, Bardon


On the Stanegate near Vindolanda two milestones are still in situ. The complete eastern one lacks an inscription. Only the base of the western one survives, cut down and split c. 1815; but eighteenth-century antiquaries read an inscription on it, now recognised as secondary, and a little of a primary text, probably naming Hadrian and perhaps a Tungrian unit. Writing-tablets and inscriptions show cohors I Tungrorum at Vindolanda in the late first and early second century, so it may have set up the milestone. Evidence from elsewhere names army units as road-builders on milestones. The distance between the Stanegate milestones is greater than the ‘standard’ length, hence perhaps the so-called pes Drusianus was used. The final section discusses the secondary inscription.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. Published by The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



AE: L'Année Épigraphique, Paris (1888–)Google Scholar
Alföldi, A. 1935: ‘Insignien und Tracht der römischen Kaiser’, Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts (Römische Abteilung) 50, 3158Google Scholar
Alföldi, A. 1970: ‘Insignien und Tracht der römischen Kaiser’, in Alföldi, A., Die monarchische Repräsentation im römischen Kaiserreiche, Darmstadt, 121276Google Scholar
Alföldy, G. 1968: Die Hilfstruppen der römischen Provinz Germania Inferior, Epigraphische Studien, Band 6, DüsseldorfGoogle Scholar
Anon. 1992: ‘Vindolanda’, Current Archaeology 128, 344–9Google Scholar
Berlinger, L. 1935: Beiträge zur inoffiziellen Titulatur der römischen Kaiser. Eine Untersuchung ihres ideengeschichtlichen Gehaltes und ihrer Entwicklung, Dissertation, BreslauGoogle Scholar
Birley, A. 2001: Vindolanda's Military Bath-houses. The Excavations of 1970 and 2000. Report on the Pre-Hadrianic Military Bath-house found in 2000, with Analysis of the Early Third-century Bath-house Excavated in 1970/1, and Possible Sites of other Bath-houses, GreenheadGoogle Scholar
Birley, A.R. 1981: The Fasti of Roman Britain, OxfordGoogle Scholar
Birley, A.R. 1993: ‘A review of the tablets, by periods’, in Birley, E. et al. 1993, 18–72Google Scholar
Birley, A.R. 1997: Hadrian: the Restless Emperor, LondonGoogle Scholar
Birley, A.R. 1998: ‘A new tombstone from Vindolanda’, Britannia 29, 299306Google Scholar
Birley, A.R. 2001: ‘The names of the Batavians and Tungrians in the Tabulae Vindolandenses’, in Grünewald, T. (ed.), Germania Inferior. Besiedlung, Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft an der Grenze der römisch-germanischen Welt, Berlin and New York, 241–60Google Scholar
Birley, A.R. 2002: Garrison Life at Vindolanda. A Band of Brothers, StroudGoogle Scholar
Birley, A.R. 2005: The Roman Government of Britain, OxfordGoogle Scholar
Birley, A.R. 2011: ‘Names new and old from recent excavations at Vindolanda’, in Dondin-Payre, M. (ed.), Les Noms de personnes dans l'Empire romain. Transformations, adaptation, évolution, Bordeaux, 263–74Google Scholar
Birley, A.R. 2015: ‘Roman roadworks on the Vindolanda stretch of Stanegate’, Epistula 8 (2014), 7Google Scholar
Birley, A.R., Birley, A., and de Bernardo Stempel, P. 2013: ‘A dedication by the cohors I Tungrorum at Vindolanda to a hitherto unknown goddess’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 186, 287300Google Scholar
Birley, E. 1958: ‘A 4th-century milestone from Old Penrith’, Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, 2nd series, 58, 8893Google Scholar
Birley, E. 1961: Research on Hadrian's Wall, KendalGoogle Scholar
Birley, E. 1966: ‘Review and discussion of R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (eds), The Roman Inscriptions of Britain’, Journal of Roman Studies 56, 226–31Google Scholar
Birley, E. 1974: ‘Introduction’ to the reprint of Horsley 1732, iii–viGoogle Scholar
Birley, E. 1993: ‘The auxiliaries’, in Birley, E. et al. 1993, 4–9Google Scholar
Birley, E., Birley, R., and Birley, A. 1993: The Vindolanda Research Reports II. The Early Wooden Forts. Reports on the Auxiliaries, the Writing-Tablets, Inscriptions, Brands and Graffiti, Bardon MillGoogle Scholar
Birley, R. 1993: ‘Inscriptions, graffiti and brands, with lead and iron stamps’, in Birley, E. et al. 1993, 73102Google Scholar
Birley, R. 2009: Vindolanda. A Roman Frontier Fort on Hadrian's Wall, StroudGoogle Scholar
Bishop, M.C. 2014: The Secret History of Roman Roads, BarnsleyGoogle Scholar
Bogaers, J.E. 1979: ‘King Cogidubnus: another reading of RIB 91’, Britannia 10, 243–54Google Scholar
Bosanquet, R.C. 1933: ‘John Horsley and his times’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4th series, 10, 5881Google Scholar
Breeze, D.J. 2006: J. Collingwood Bruce's Handbook to the Roman Wall (14th edn), Newcastle upon TyneGoogle Scholar
Bruce, J.C. 1867: The Roman Wall (3rd edn), LondonGoogle Scholar
Burnham, B.C. 2008: ‘Roman Britain in 2007. I. Sites explored, England. 3 Hadrian's Wall’, Britannia 39, 278–83Google Scholar
Cicero: Philippics: Orationes, vol. II, Pro Milone, Caesarianae, Philippicae (ed. Clark, A.C., 2nd edn, Oxford Classical Texts, 1963)Google Scholar
CIL: Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, I–XVII, Berlin (1863–)Google Scholar
Eck, W., and Drew-Bear, T. 1976: ‘Kaiser-, Militär- und Steinbruchinschriften aus Phrygien’, Chiron 6, 289318Google Scholar
Erdkamp, P. (ed.) 2002: The Roman Army and the Economy, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
Halfmann, H. 1986: Itinera principum. Geschichte und Typologie der Kaiserreisen im römischen Reich, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
Hassall, M.W.C., and Tomlin, R.S.O 1988: ‘Roman Britain in 1987. II. Inscriptions’, Britannia 19, 485508Google Scholar
Haverfield, F.J. 1911: ‘The Chesterholm milestone’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, 3rd series, 5, 184–5Google Scholar
Haynes, I. 2002: ‘Britain's first information revolution. The Roman army and the transformation of economic life’, in Erdkamp 2002, 111–26Google Scholar
Hodgson, N. 2009: ‘The abandonment of Antonine Scotland: its date and causes’, in Hanson, W.S. (ed.), The Army and Frontiers of Rome. Papers offered to D.J. Breeze, Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 74, Portsmouth, RI, 185–93Google Scholar
Holder, P.A. 1980: Studies in the Auxilia of the Roman Army from Augustus to Trajan, BAR International Series 70, OxfordGoogle Scholar
Holder, P.A. 1982: The Roman Army in Britain, LondonGoogle Scholar
Horsley, J. 1732: Britannia Romana or the Roman Antiquities of Britain in Three Books, London (reprinted, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1974)Google Scholar
Hyginus Gromaticus: De condicionibus agrorum, in Die Schriften der römischen Feldmesser, Band 1, S. 166–208 (ed. Lachmann, K., Berlin, 1848)Google Scholar
ILS: Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae (ed. Dessau, H.), Berlin (1892–1916)Google Scholar
Kissel, T. 2002: ‘Road-building as a munus publicum’, in Erdkamp 2002, 127–60Google Scholar
Lörincz, B. 2001: Die römischen Hilfstruppen Pannoniens während der Prinzipatszeit, ViennaGoogle Scholar
Macdonald, Sir G. 1933: ‘John Horsley, scholar and gentleman’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4th series, 10, 157Google Scholar
Maligorne, Y. 2008: ‘Bono reipublicae natus: une louange impériale sur quelques monuments de l'Antiquité tardive (à propos d'une inscription de Lancieux: CIL, XIII, 8994 = XVII-2, 420a)’, Revue archéologique de l'Ouest 25, 291304Google Scholar
Maxwell, G.S. 1983: ‘Two inscribed Roman stones and architectural fragments from Scotland’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 113, 379–90Google Scholar
Maxwell, G.S. 1998: A Gathering of Eagles, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
Murgia, C.E. 1977: ‘The minor works of Tacitus: a study in text criticism’, Classical Philology 72, 323–42Google Scholar
ND Occ.: Notitia dignitatum omnium tam civilium, quam militarium, in partibus Orientis, in partibus Occidentis. Accedunt notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae et laterculi provinciarum (ed. O. Seeck, Berlin, 1876)Google Scholar
Nouwen, R. 1995: ‘The Vindolanda tablet 88/841a and the cohors I Tungrorum’, in Lodewijckx, M. (ed.), Archaeological and Historical Aspects of West-European Societies. Album Amicorum André van Doorselaer, Acta Archaeologica Lovaniensia, Monographiae 8, Leuven, 123–34Google Scholar
Nouwen, R. 1997: ‘The vexillations of the cohortes Tungrorum during the second century’, in Groenman-van Waateringe, W., van Beek, B.L., Willems, W.J.H. and Wynia, S.L. (eds), Roman Frontier Studies 1995. Proceedings of the XVIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, Oxbow Monograph 91, Oxford, 461–5Google Scholar
Piggott, S. 1985: William Stukeley. An Eighteenth-Century Antiquary (2nd edn), LondonGoogle Scholar
Poulter, J. 1998: ‘The date of the Stanegate, and a hypothesis about the manner and timing of the construction of Roman roads in Britain’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th series, 26, 4956Google Scholar
Raepsaet-Charlier, M.-Th. 1975: ‘La datation des inscriptions latines dans les provinces occidentales de l'empire romain d'après les formules “In h(onorem) d(omus) d(ivinae)” et “deo/deae”’, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.3, 232–82Google Scholar
Raepsaet-Charlier, M.-Th. 1985: ‘À propos des premiers emplois datés de Deo-Deae dans les trois Gaules et les Germanies’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 61, 204–8Google Scholar
Raepsaet-Charlier, M.-Th. 1993: Dis deabusque sacrum. Formulaire votif et datation dans les trois Gaules et les deux Germanies, Gallia Romana 1, ParisGoogle Scholar
Rathmann, M. 2003: Untersuchungen zu den Reichsstraßen in den westlichen Provinzen des Imperium Romanum, BonnGoogle Scholar
Rathmann, M. 2006: ‘Der Statthalter und die Verwaltung der Reichsstraßen in der Kaiserzeit’, in Kolb, A. (ed.), Herrschaftsstrukturen und Herrschaftspraxis, Berlin, 201–59Google Scholar
RIB I, I2: Collingwood, R.G. and Wright, R.P. (eds), The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. I, Inscriptions on Stone, Oxford (1965); reprinted with Addenda and corrigenda by R.S.O. Tomlin, Stroud (1995)Google Scholar
RIB II: Frere, S.S., Hassall, M.W.C., Roxan, M.M. and Tomlin, R.S.O. (eds), The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. II. Instrumentum Domesticum (in eight fascicules), Oxford (1990–95); Combined Epigraphic Indexes and Concordance with Major Printed Sources, compiled by S.S. Frere, Oxford (1995)Google Scholar
RIB III: Tomlin, R.S.O., Wright, R.P. and Hassall, M.W.C. (eds), The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. III. Inscriptions on Stone Found or Notified between 1 January 1955 and 31 December 2006, Oxford (2009)Google Scholar
RIC VI: Sutherland, C.H.V. (ed.), The Roman Imperial Coinage VI, London (1967)Google Scholar
RMD: RMD 1–5 = Roman Military Diplomas (Roxan, M.M. (ed.), London, 1978, 1985, 1994; Roxan, M.M. and Holder (eds), 2003; P. Holder (ed.), 2006)Google Scholar
Rodrίguez Colmenero, A.S., Ferrer Sierra, S., and Álvarez Asorey, R.D. 2004: Callaeciae et Asturiae itinera Romana. Miliarios e outras inscricións viarias Romanas do Noroeste Hispánico (Conventos Bracarense, Lucarense e Asturicense), Santiago de CompostelaGoogle Scholar
Rothenhöfer, P. 2015: ‘Fünf Weihinschriften aus dem römischen Rheinland’, Bonner Jahrbücher 214, 2742Google Scholar
Sauer, E. 2014: ‘Milestones and instability (mid-third to early fourth centuries AD)’, Ancient Society 44, 257305Google Scholar
Sedgley, J.P. 1975: The Roman Milestones of Britain, BAR British Series 18, OxfordGoogle Scholar
Spaul, J. 1994: Ala2. The Auxiliary Cavalry Units of the Pre-Diocletianic Imperial Roman Army, AndoverGoogle Scholar
Spaul, J. 2000: Cohors2. The Evidence for and a Short History of the Auxiliary Infantry Units of the Imperial Roman Army, BAR International Series 841, OxfordGoogle Scholar
Statius: Silvae (ed. Courtney, E., Oxford Classical Texts, 1990)Google Scholar
Strobel, K. 1987: ‘Anmerkungen zur Geschichte der Bataverkohorten in der hohen Kaiserzeit’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 70, 271–92Google Scholar
Stukeley, W. 1776: Iter Boreale, published posthumously in his Itinerarium Curiosum (2nd edn), Vol. II, LondonGoogle Scholar
Tab. Vindol. II, III, IV.1, IV.2: Bowman, A.K. and Thomas, J.D. (eds) 1994: The Vindolanda Writing-Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses II), London (nos 118–573); 2003: The Vindolanda Writing-Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses) Volume III, London (nos 574–853); A.K. Bowman, J.D. Thomas and R.S.O. Tomlin (eds) 2010: ‘The Vindolanda Writing-Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses IV, Part 1)’, Britannia 41, 187–224 (nos 854–69); 2011:‘The Vindolanda Writing-Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses IV, Part 2)’, Britannia 42, 113–44 (nos 870–89). In Vol. III the Appendix, pp. 155–61, offers revised readings and interpretation of tablets published in Vol. II. Such tablets are referred to here with ‘+add.’ after the number.Google Scholar
Tacitus, Agricola: Tacitus, Opera minora (ed. Ogilvie, R.M. and Winterbottom, M., Oxford Classical texts, 1990)Google Scholar
Tomlin, R.S.O. 1996: ‘The Vindolanda tablets’, Britannia 27, 459–63Google Scholar
Tomlin, R.S.O. 2013: ‘Roman Britain in 2012. III. Inscriptions’, Britannia 44, 381–96Google Scholar
Tomlin, R.S.O. 2015: ‘Roman Britain in 2014. III. Inscriptions. Addenda et corrigenda, (d)’, Britannia 46, 383420Google Scholar
Warburton, J. 1753: Vallum Romanum: or, the History and Antiquities of the Roman Wall, Commonly called the Picts Wall, In Cumberland and Northumberland, built by Hadrian and Severus, the Roman Emperors, Seventy Miles in Length, to keep out the Northern Picts and Scots, LondonGoogle Scholar
Wright, R.P. 1937: ‘The Stanegate at Chesterholm’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4th series, 14, 185–93Google Scholar
Wright, R.P., and Hassall, M.W.C. 1973: ‘Roman Britain in 1972. II. Inscriptions’, Britannia 4, 324–37Google Scholar
Zahrnt, M. 1988: ‘Die frühesten Meilensteine Britanniens und ihre Deutung’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 73, 195–9Google Scholar