5. Some Results

The following discussion is a brief summary of some of the results from the project, concerning evidence for women and children in these particular sites. These results demonstrate how the complex information in the original excavation reports has been reduced to activity and gender categories whose spatial distribution within these military bases can be plotting using a GIS-type environment.

5.1 Vetera I

The stone-built double legionary fortress of Vetera I was constructed c. AD 40 and covered an area of about 15 hectares. It replaced earlier wooden fortresses, dating from the early Augustan period (c. 12 BC). The final fortress was abandoned c. AD 70, reportedly after an uprising among the locally recruited troops, the Batavians. Excavations were carried out here at the beginning of the 20th century (Lehner 1907; 1912; 1930) and the site and excavation trench plans and artefact catalogues were comprehensively published by Norbert Hanel in 1995.

Figure 2
Figure 2: Vetera I, distribution of gendered activities, plotted according to gender. Stray finds are plotted in the large pie chart to the bottom right of site plan. Key: ZFE = possibly female-related; ZFE_CH = possibly female- or child-related; ZCH = possibly child-related; MA = male-related; ZMA = possibly male-related; ZMA_FE = possibly male- or female-related.

The distribution patterns of artefacts from within the fortress that can be ascribed a gendered task or activity (e.g. combat, metal-working, cloth production, toilet, dress, etc.), can be plotted according to gender (Figure 2; see Allison et al. 2004 for ArcIMS plots of the Vetera material). As one might expect, the majority of artefacts at this site are male-related, or probably male-related. But there is also a scattering of items that are female-related, probably female-related, or probably female- or child-related.

Figure 3
Figure 3: Vetera I, distribution of artefacts associated with women and children, plotted according to gender. Key: FE = female-related; ZFE = possibly female-related; ZFE_CH = possibly female- or child-related; ZCH = possibly child-related. Large red dot in Building a represents a necklace of 21 glass beads.

By removing all the male-related artefacts, it is possible to show only activity and dress items that are potentially female- or child related (Figure 3 - this plot has been updated since Allison et al. 2004, section 8.6.2c, and Allison 2006b, fig. 4). These artefacts cluster in the gateways and the main cross street, and in the commanding officer's palace and in the senior officers' houses. The artefacts categorised as potentially female- or child-related tend to be associated with definitely female-related items and they cluster together, irrespective of type. This implies that there is some validity in my gender ascriptions. This distribution pattern would also conform to the accepted view that women and children within this 1st-century legionary fortress were either members of officers' households or traders from outside the camp frequenting the main street and market areas. The only apparent anomalies are a handful of possibly female- and child- related items, scattered across the central administrative buildings, but no definite female ones were found associated with these particular buildings.

Graph 1
Graph 1: Vetera I, correspondence analysis between groups of functionally related buildings and areas, and gender categories at (compiled by A. S. Fairbairn).

Irrespective of this anomaly in the spatial plots, correspondence analysis indicates that the main pattern is fairly robust, with women's and children's items clustering with officer's quarters and street areas, and male items with administrative buildings and barracks (Graph 1; see also Allison et al. 2004, fig. 29). Unfortunately, though, at Vetera I, only the central area was excavated, so little is actually known of the soldiers' barracks, a questionable realm for the presence of women and children.


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