A reappraisal of the Roman period ruins at Ain Wif has been made following the identification there of traces of defensive walls. These walls are interpreted as being the robbed-out remains of a Roman fortlet and possibly also a tort on the same site. Two phases of military occupation were also evident in modern drain trenches being cut across the site and are attested epigraphically for the military bath-house by the spring. Ceramic evidence from the site suggests that the initial phase lies within the second century, whilst the Severan occupation, known from an inscription to begin early in the third century, represents a second phase. The previous view of the site as an undefended road-station, with a military presence only under the Severan emperors is no longer tenable. Moreover, the new evidence indicates that there was some measure of military organisation in the hinterland of the Emporia prior to the accession of Septimius Severus at the very end of the second century AD. The importance of the site also lies in its large civilian and indigenous population who continued to occupy the site long after the military had departed.
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