Concavata (Drumburgh) Fort

Wall Fort

Coggabata, or Congavata / Concavata, (with the modern name of Drumburgh) was a Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall, between Aballava (Burgh by Sands) to the east and Mais (Bowness-on-Solway) to the west.

Located on a small drumlin or sandy hillock on the edge of Burgh Marsh overlooking the wide mud-flats of the Eden and Esk estuaries, the Wall fort at Drumburgh lies about 1½ miles north of the Stanegate, half way between the Trajanic fort at Kirkbride and the Hadrianic fort at Burgh-by-Sands.

The only classical reference to the Wall fort at Drumburgh is contained in the Notitia Dignitatum of the early-fifth century, where the Roman name for the station is recorded as Congauata, between the entries for Aballaba (Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria) and the tentatively identified station Axeloduno (Netherby, Cumbria). The modern name is an amalgamation of Gaelic druim ’round hill, hillock’, and Old English burh ‘fortified encampment’, meaning something along the lines ‘the Fort on the Small Hill’.

Excavations conducted in the early twentieth century by Haverfield, reported the width of the Wall foundations at Drumburgh to be 9½ feet (almost 3 metres) wide. It was proved also that the Drumburg fort was an afterthought, being added to the Wall following its original completion. This is also attested by the fort’s position, being centrally located between MileCastle 76 and Turret 76A.

The Epigraphy of Concavata

“The Seventh Cohort [built this].”
“[Made by] the Eighth Cohort.”
(RIB 2051)
(RIB 2052)

Only three inscribed stones have been recovered from the Drumburgh fort and subsequently reported in the RIB; two ‘cohort stones’ (RIB 2051/2) which record the work of the individual legionary cohorts responsible for building specific portions of the defenses or internal buildings of the fort, also another undesignated short inscription (RIB 2053). All these texts are shown here.

RIB2053 - Building inscription of Vindomorucus

The length in feet built by Vindomorucus.
PEDAÍ¡TVRA
VINDO
MORVCI
It may have come from the site of Drumburgh fort, or from an adjacent part of Hadrian's Wall.See RIB 1672 for dating this to A.D. 369.For a similar inscription see RIB 1629.

The Drumburgh Garrison

The plan and dimensions of the Drumburgh fort suggest that it housed an auxiliary infantry cohort of five hundred men. It is thought that it was built at the same time as the fort and extension at Segedunum (Wallsend, Tyne & Wear) on the opposite end of the Wall, which housed a similar force, but the original Drumburgh garrison unit(s) left no record of their stay.

Cohors Secundae Lingonum – The Second Cohort of Lingones

Tribunus cohortis secundae Lingonum, Congauata
“The tribune of the Second Cohort of Lingones at Congavata
(Notitia Dignitatum xl.48; 4th/5th C.)

The fourth century garrison is recorded in the Notitia Dignitatum as Cohors II Lingonum, a five-hundred strong infantry unit enlisted from among the Lingones tribe of Upper Germany. The unit is also attested at other forts in northern England at Ilkley in North Yorkshire (RIB 635), and at Moresby on the Cumbrian Coast (RIB 798 et 800).

Concavata Today

Drumburgh
The only visible Roman remains in the vicinity of Drumburgh are a couple of short stretches of the vallum, visible in the fields north-east of The Cottage Camp Site, mid-way between Drumburgh and Bowness. The main road between Carlisle and Bowness makes a right-angle turn in the middle of Drumburgh village, thus preserving the outline of the south-western corner-angle of the Concavata fort, though nothing remains of the fort itself. The stretch of road to the west of the village between the sites of Milecastle 77 and Turret 78B, is built directly upon the foundations of the Wall, but nothing remains of the Wall either.

References for Concavata

  • Hadrian’s Wall Map and Guide by the Ordnance Survey (Southampton, 1989);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965). H
  • adrian’s Wall Map and Guide by the Ordnance Survey (Southampton, 1989);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965)

Roman Roads near Concavata

Wall: E (3.5) to Aballava (Burgh by Sands, Cumbria) Wall: W (3) to Bowness (Bowness on Solway, Cumbria) Probable Road: SW (4) to Kirkbride (Cumbria)