5.2 Rottweil

The two forts on the left bank of the Neckar River at Rottweil, Forts I and II, were the fourth and fifth of five Roman forts constructed in this area, the others being built on the right bank of the river. The legionary fortress, Fort I, was constructed of wood and earth and covered some 16.6 hectares. The 11th legion, or part of it (c. 6000 troops), moved here from Vindonissa c. AD 75 and no doubt occupied this fortress. However, Fort I lasted only about ten years. It was replaced in c. AD 85 with a smaller stone fort, Fort II, which was built inside the former fortress, along the same axis and sharing the same buildings and street arrangement. This smaller fort was probably occupied by a double cohort (c. 1200 troops) and a vexillation or detached unit, and abandoned c. AD 110-120. The majority of the excavations of Forts I and II comprised piecemeal urban rescue excavations, carried out from the early 1980s until the mid-1990s, so only a small proportion of these two forts has been excavated. These excavations were compiled and published by Regina Franke (2003).

Figure 4
Figure 4: Rottweil Forts I and II, distribution of gendered activities, according to activity. Key: CS = cutting and sharpening equipment; E = combat equipment; G = gaming items; SM = stone- and metal-working equipment; T = toilet items; W = writing equipment; WL = wood- and leather-working equipment.

Figure 4 shows the distribution of artefacts associated with gendered activities within the excavated areas of Forts I and II at Rottweil, here plotted according to activity rather than gender as in the Vetera plot (Figure 2). Compared with the other three sites analysed, there is a general lack of material and particularly metal artefacts at this site. This is no doubt due to the seemingly less dramatic abandonment of Fort II. Nevertheless, a relative concentration of material is observable in the central area of the fortress, identified by Franke (2003, 52-6) as an administrative building and workshop. These artefacts were found in canals and ditches and are among the wealth of material from destruction levels of the second phase of Fort I, when this fortress burnt down (Franke 2003, 93).

Figure 5
Figure 5: Rottweil Forts I and II, distribution of artefacts associated with women and children, according to gender. Key: FE = female-related; ZFE = possibly female-related; ZFE_CH = possibly female- or child-related.

Figure 5 shows the distribution of female- and child-related artefacts. They are not very prolific, in common with all gendered artefacts in this fort (Figure 4).Their presence alone in these parts of the fort is significant. They are also relatively prolific in the central area, and might be used to support an argument for a commanding officers' residence here. As at Vetera, they are also found in the main street and in what has been identified as an officer's residence in the south-east corner. Further examples are found in a latrine belonging to Fort II. Whatever women were doing in these two early forts at Rottweil, they were there.

These two legionary fortresses at Vetera and Rottweil conceivably conform to the traditional view that women were either members of officers' households or traders coming in along the main street. However, there is insufficient evidence of the ordinary soldiers' barracks in either of these sites to reach any conclusions about the presence or otherwise of women and children in such areas.


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Last updated: Mon Jun 30 2008