Brocolitia (Carrawbrough) Vicus
A small civil settlement or vicus occupied the low-lying marshy ground outside the south-west corner of the fort, where the remains of no less than three temples have been found; a mithraeum dedicated to the god Mithras, a nymphaeum dedicated to the local water deities, and a sacred well dedicated to the iron-age water goddess Coventina. All three of these temples are associated with a small tributary stream of Meggie’s Dene Burn, which issues from a spring consecrated to Coventina and runs beside the fort past the Mithraeum and the nymphaeum to the south-west, to empty into the River South Tyne near the Stanegate fort at Newbrough, three miles to the south.
RIB1558 - Fragmentary funerary inscription
[... ]S XXXIIII ET [..]ATENCTE
[...]IVGI PIE VIX ANIS XXX [...]
[...]IANE FILI EORVM VIXIT D
[...] FILIO EORVM
RIB1561 - Funerary inscription for Aelia Comindus
CONIVGI CAR[...]SS[...]M P
Tombstone of a Decurion’s Wife
The Gods of Brocolitia
There are six altarstones and votive stones; a dedication and an altarstone to the water-nymph Coventina (1534 & 1535), another two altars to the god Mithras (vide RIB 1544 & 1545 infra), one of which may be dated to between 213AD and 222, there is also a single altarstone to the goddess Fortuna (1536) and one more dedicated to the Nymphs (vide RIB 1563a infra). In addition to the religious stones there is a building inscription which can be positively dated to the year 237AD (RIB 1553 supra), two tombstones of a Bucinator and a Signifer (1559 & 1560 respectively), also another damaged funerary inscription (1562). The texts of all of these stones are shown on this page.
Dedication and Altar to the Water-nymph Coventina
RIB1534 - Dedication to Covventina
T D COSCONIA
NVS ▸ PR ▸ COH ▸
I ▸ BAT ▸ L ▸ M ▸
RIB1535 - Altar dedicated to Covventina
COH I BAT
V S L M
RIB1536 - Altar dedicated to Fortune
COH I BATAVOR
Aside from the ten dedications to Coventina three stones of Mithras and two others dedicated to the Nymphs, which are all dealt with in separate sections below, many other deities are also represented at Carrawburgh. There are two dedicated to the goddess Fortuna (1536/1537), the former by Coh I Bat, two to the Mother Goddesses (1540/1541), two to the goddess Minerva (1542/1543), two to the Germanic warrior-god Vheterus (1548/1549), two to the Local Guardian Spirit, one by a detachment of Coh II Ner (1538), the other by Coh I Bat shared with the Nymphs (1563a), single altarstones to the god Mercury (1539) and the god Belatucader (1521), also an altarstone bearing a completely obliterated text (1520; not shown).
RIB1521 - Altar dedicated to Belleticaurus
RIB1537 - Altar dedicated to Fortune
RIB1539 - Altar dedicated to the Goddess, Mother of the Gods
PRO SE ET SVI
S V S L M
Altars to the Mother Goddesses
Altars to Minerva
RIB1542 - Altar dedicated to Minerva
V S L M
RIB1543 - Altar dedicated to Minerva
NICO PR S
P S S
Altars to Vheterus
RIB1548 - Altar dedicated to Veteris
CVS V L
RIB1549 - Altar dedicated to the Huiteres
Noted by Horsely in 1786 and excavated in 1876 by John Clayton, this forty foot square temple housed a natural well-spring, situated in the centre of the building and enclosed by a low stone receptacle with an interior dimension of about seven feet square. The temple building was roofed-over and contained a large number of carved stone altars, which were presumably arranged against the inside walls of the structure.
There are ten altarstones to the water-nymph Coventina, including those dedicated by four auxiliary infantry units; Coh V Raetorum (vide RIB 1529 supra), Coh I Batavorum (vide RIB 1534 & 1535 supra), Coh I Cugernorum (vide RIB 1524 supra) and Coh I Frisiavonum (vide RIB 1523 supra), plus two other undefined stones (RIB 1527 infra & 1534 supra) and two clay incense burners (RIB 1530/1531 etiam infra).
Altarstones Dedicated to the Goddess Coventina
RIB1522 - Altar dedicated to Conventina
V S L M P
RIB1525 - Altar dedicated to Coventina
RIB1526 - Altar dedicated to Coventina
POS PRO SE ET SV
V S L M
RIB1548 - Altar dedicated to Veteris
CVS V L
RIB1532 - Altar dedicated to Covetina
OTVS VT LB
ES S[...]LVI PRO M SA
RIB1533 - Altar dedicated to Covontina
PRO SALVTE SVA
V L L M D
Two Earthenware Incense Burners Inscribed by Saturninus and Gabinius
RIB1527 - Dedication to Coventina
Mithraeum – Temple of Mithras
The remains of the Mithraeum were discovered during the dry summer of 1949, lying within a hollow in normally boggy ground outside the southern defences of the fort, where the top portions of three altars were seen protruding out from the grass. The site was completely excavated the following year and was found to be a Mithraic temple, in an excellent state of preservation, with its three altars still upright and in position, and each bearing a dedicatory inscription by a third-century commander of the nearby fort’s garrison.
All three altarstones bear dedicatory inscriptions to the god Mithras, two are dedicated by men from Cohors Primae Batavorum, and one stone can be dated to the years 213-222AD.
Excavation has revealed that the temple was first erected early in the third century and altered several times before being destroyed, probably by northern barbarians who took advantage of the unrest caused by the Roman usurpers Carausius and Allectus, who withdrew a large proportion of the Wall garrison south c.296AD in order to sustain their rebellion. Rebuilt shortly afterwards during the visit of the legitimate emperor Constantius who campaigned in the north of Britain, the temple was finally demolished early in the fourth century, possibly by the pious followers of a new religious sect which was then becoming popular, Christians.
Nymphaeum – Temple of the Water Nymphs
The Remains of the Infantry Fort
The Carrawburgh Temple Remains
References for Brocolitia (Carrawbrough) Vicus
- Hadrian’s Wall Map and Guide by the Ordnance Survey (Southampton, 1989);
- Hadrian’s Wall in the Days of the Romans by Ronald Embleton and Frank Graham (Newcastle, 1984) pp.117-121;
- Hadrian’s Wall History Trails Guidebook IV by Les Turnbull (Newcastle, 1974), pp.26-28; Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966);
- The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).
Map References for Brocolitia (Carrawbrough) Vicus
NGRef: NY 858 712 OSMap: Hadrian’s Wall, OL43, LR87.