Malton (Derventio) Vicus


Excavations were conducted on the vicus outside the S gate of Derventio fort; between 1949-52 in Orchard Field, and during 1968/9 building operations on the site of Orchard Cottage, further to the S. The 1968/9 digs revealed the presence of a further 14 vicus buildings arranged along two roads of limestone rubble leading south to the Derwent. The eastern-most of these was the earliest, probably being constructed in the late-2nd century, while the road to the west, carried on an embankment to a probable river crossing at Malton New Mills, was built at the beginning of the 4th. Flavian ditches, buildings and hearths were found sealed beneath the late-4th/early-5th century rampart. The area to the north was built-up of successive occupation layers of rubble and earth containing 2nd & 3rd century pottery, and on top of these layers were found stone buildings dating to the early-4th. The eastern road was out of use by the mid-4th century, to be replaced by crudely-built stone structures, possibly out-houses of the buildings fronting the road to the west.

The Gods of Roman Malton

RIB 711 - Dedication to Mars Rigas

To the god Mars Rigas, Scirus consecrated this offering, willingly and deservedly fulfilling his vow.


Rigas: Huebner interprets it as Marriga, followed by Ihm in Roscher. In Gazetteer Professor J.R.R. Tolkien suggests that Rigae represents rigai, the Celtic dative of rix, king. The stem -rix occurs in other epithets of Mars, e.g. Albiorix (ILS 4542), Caturix (ILS 4552). For Mars Rigisamus see RIB 187.Scirus: Holder accepts the reading of Huebner, Scirusor. There seems to be no other instance of Scirus as a personal name. But the tribe of Σκίροι are cited in CIG 2058 B, and Pliny (Nat. Hist. iv 97) cites Sciri as near the Sarmatae (see Schönfeld Wörterbuch s.v.).

The gods, classical Roman or otherwise, are sparsely represented at the Malton fort; aside from the base dedicated to Mars (vide supra) and the inscription invoking the Genio Loci (vide infra), there are in addition, a couple of illegible altarstones (RIB 713 et 717; not shown).

RIB 712 - Building inscription to the genius loci

Good luck to the Genius of this place. Young slave, use to your good fortune this goldsmith’s shop.


No commentary.

Excavations in 1970

SE792716 – Several buildings of timber and of stone were identified during further work on the Orchard Cottage site in 1970. A complex building sequence was revealed, with major phases occurring during the Trajanic, Severan, Constantian and Theodosian periods. The earliest building identified was associated with an inscription by the Ala Picentiana (Vide RIB 719a supra; also Britannia II (1971) p.291). The south and west defences of an early Roman military work were confirmed beneath the vicus buildings, very likely a southern annexe of the known fort. These additional defences comprised a turf rampart 16ft (4.9m) wide, backing a ditch 6ft (1.8m) wide and 3½ft (1.2m) deep.

Sites near Malton (Derventio) Vicus