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Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region


During their expeditions against the various barbarian tribes, the Roman armies reached the territory of the present city of Brno. This is at least the conclusion of recent archaeological excavations that have brought to light a Roman camp dating from the second century AD in the capital of Moravia.

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
This is an important discovery for Moravian archaeology, and not only. Archaeologists in Brno have found, thanks to preventive excavations related to the upcoming construction of two new houses, the very first trace of the presence of Roman soldiers in the city. The remains of the former military camp are located on Vojtova Street, not far from the center of the metropolis. The archaeologist Václav Kolařík of the company Archaia, in charge of these excavations, presents the find:

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
"This camp dates from the time of the Marcomannic Wars. Between the years 166 and 180 of our era, the Romans were at war with Germanic tribes of the Middle Danube. This camp was built during the Roman offensive, between 172 and 180."

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
During the second century, the devastation caused by the invasions of the barbaric peoples, especially the Germanic tribes, in the Roman Empire forced the Roman armies, under the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, to go to Barbaricum, a territory beyond the control of Rome. Several military camps were thus also built in the territory of present-day Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic, inhabited at the time by the Marcomanni and Quadi.

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
In the past, a Roman camp was discovered in the town of Modřice, not far from Brno. It is, however, mainly the region of Břeclav, in South Moravia, which was the theatre of Roman expeditions against the Barbarians.

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
"On their way north of the Danube, the Romans built camps that ensured their advance on the territory of the Barbarians. In the Czech Republic, the largest concentration of these camps lies near the lakes of Nové Mlýny, in Mušov, and then in Přibice and Ivaň. Other camps were also discovered in central Moravia, notably in Olomouc, near the towns of Kroměříž and Hulín, and in Jevíčko", explains Václav Kolařík.

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
Unlike the Mušov camp, where several stone buildings were built, the Brno camp served only as a temporary space of small capacity, which could not accommodate more than one unit of Roman soldiers. The tents, erected on a surface of several hundred square meters, were protected by a rampart.

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
"It was one of the points of support of the Romans on their way to Barbaricum. It is located on the Svratka River, near a major ford. The aim of the camp was to keep watch over this ford and thus ensure that the Roman soldiers securely advanced into the interior of the country. It also functioned as a supply station for units that had already crossed the river."

Roman army camp discovered in Czech Republic's South Moravian Region
Credit: Archaia Brno
But for Václav Kolařík, this discovery has yet another important side: "In the remains of the Roman military camps, it is sometimes possible to find some objects used by the soldiers. These discoveries are however rare. In Brno, we discovered a ceramic pot, almost intact, used to prepare meals. This pot broke and the soldiers abandoned it on the spot. We also found a bronze ornament that was part of the armour of Roman legionaries."

Excavations will be completed in mid-January. All objects found will then be deposited in the Museum of the city of Brno.

Source: Czech Radio [January 13, 2018]

TANN

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