Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


29.9.06
  Hedemünden, Fort 1 - Stone Foundations

Most of the buidlings and fortifications were made of timber, and conditions have not preserved much of that aside from post holes. The first version of Roman forts often were timber structures, even those later reconstructed in stone like Vindolanda - only the conditions in Vindolanda have preserved more of the wood. So what we do have are stone foundations, supposedly of storage houses and maybe other buildings (there seem to be two different sorts of foundation remains, one more crafted and fixed with mortar, and one that looks more like loose stones roughly hewn).

Crafted stone foundations.

Size, structure and strategical position and the already unearthed details within the walled ground of fort 1 (diggings are still going on) make it clear that it was a supply camp, intended to store foodstuffs (grain, salt, cattle) and replacement material for armour and weapons as well as fabricae (repair workshops) for the legions involved in the area. There may also have been a lazarett. A logistic centre like this was an important factor in organising the supplies.

Another stone foundation. I deliberately took the pic from the tree side
because I like how the boles give the place a feel of 'times gone by'.

The second function of the fort was the guard and control of the Werra ford and the crossroads meeting there.
 
Comments:
The trees make it look a little like those lost cities that have vanished into the jungle until Indiana Jones rediscovers them.

Would there have been timber buildings on top of the stone foundations? A lot of the Roman and post-Roman buildings at Wroxeter are thought to have been built that way, which according to the excavator's book means (a) you only get the floor plans surviving, but (b) the floor plans are very clear because they aren't all confused by rubble from collapsed walls. He says that's one reason why the Wroxeter street plan shows up so clearly on aerial photos. I thought that was a really interesting comment.
He also makes reference to laying rubble platforms as the foundations for timber buildings. So for example one of the big post-Roman buildings has a foundation made of rubble from the demolished Roman baths, carefully laid and tamped down but not mortared. I wonder if the rougher-looking foundations could be something like that? I've never seen one in the flesh so have no idea - Alex might be able to say.
 
Yes, there were timber buildings on top of the stone foundations. Interesting point about rubble foundations, I'll have to check into these things a bit more.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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