Sources for Birdoswald Roman Fort

The following list includes the key material, visual and written sources for the study of Birdoswald. The most comprehensive general account of the site is T Wilmott, Birdoswald Roman Fort: 1800 Years on Hadrian’s Wall (Stroud, 2001).

An enamelled bronze disc brooch found at Birdoswald

An enamelled bronze disc brooch found at Birdoswald, probably dating to the 1st century AD

Material Sources

Birdoswald Visitor Centre

The Birdoswald visitor centre contains a small collection of finds. Pottery and architectural fragments are on the upper floor.

Two monolithic window heads from the east gate of the fort have been built into the visitor centre and cafe.

In the foyer are a number of important stone sculptures and inscriptions which were formerly at Lanercost Priory. These include a relief of Jupiter and Vulcan, and the altar dedicated to Silvanus by the Venatores Bannienses (‘Hunters of Banna’) (RIB 1905). This is the only stone inscription to record the Roman name of the fort, Banna.


Tullie House Museum, Carlisle

The vast majority of all excavated finds and inscriptions from Birdoswald are held in the Tullie House Museum. A fair number of finds are currently on permanent display, including several altars and other inscriptions. The seated statue of Fortuna from the commanding officer’s bathhouse is on display. The museum also contains the complete archives of all recent excavations.


Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne 

The Great North Museum: Hancock houses a limited selection of Birdoswald material, including:

  • the inscription from the east gate which shows the Dacian unit badges of the palm frond and the falx   (see History of Birdoswald Roman Fort)
  • the tombstone of the infant Aurelius Concordius, son of the tribune Aurelius Julianus. 

          

British Museum

In the British Museum is a gilded copper statuette of the emperor Commodus in the guise of Hercules, found before 1895 and donated by the then Earl of Carlisle. It is said to be from near Birdoswald.

          

Published Sculptures

Coulston, JC and Phillips, EJ (eds), Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani: Corpus of Sculpture of the Roman World – Great Britain, vol 1, fascicule 6: Hadrian’s Wall West of the North Tyne and Carlisle (Oxford, 1988) [lists all the carvings from Birdoswald with a bibliography and illustrations]

           

Published Inscriptions

All the inscriptions on stone are collected in the Roman Inscriptions of Britain (RIB) series.

  • Collingwood, RG and Wright, RP, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vol 1: Inscriptions on Stone (Oxford, 1965), including nos 1872, 1874–96, 1898, 1904, 1905, 1909, 1912, 1914, 1918, 1919
  • Tomlin, RSO, Wright, RP and Hassall, MWC, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vol 3: Inscriptions on Stone 1955–2006 (Oxford, 2009), nos 3438–48.
Engraved gemstone carved with the imperial eagle, found at Birdoswald

An engraved gemstone carved with the imperial eagle and two military standards, from an iron ring found beneath the turf Wall at Birdoswald

Visual Sources

Watercolours, Drawings and Sketches

  • HB Richardson, three watercolours, 1848, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (Laing Art Gallery) [showing the east gate, a general view of the farmhouse before the building of the tower and the view south
  • C Richardson, watercolour, 19th century, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (Laing Art Gallery) [showing part of the eastern rampart]
  • J Storey, woodcuts of the Potter excavations, published in the excavation reports in Archaeologia Aeliana, 1st series, 4 (1855), 63–9, 69–75, 141–9
  • drawings by James Irwin Coates (dated 1879), reproduced in A Whitworth, ‘A 19th-century condition survey of Hadrian’s Wall: the James Irwin Coates archive, 1877–1896’, in Hadrian’s Wall: Archaeological Research by English Heritage 1976–2000, ed T Wilmott (Swindon, 2009), nos 132–40.

    

Early Photography

  • Danson, late 1870s, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool
  • FG Simpson photographic archive (DX 12260: Archaeological Records of FG Simpson), Cumbria Archive Centre, Carlisle.

             

Plans, Drawings and Photographs in the Historic England Archives

Items in the Historic England Archives at Swindon relating to Birdsowald include:

  • an album containing photographs taken in August 1932 of the Vallum crossing (AA71)
  • an album of photographs taken from 1948 to 1960 showing many aspects of the fort, including the east, west and south gates, the barracks, the guard chambers, the outer ditch, Diocletianic and Severan inscriptions (AL1211)
  • an album of labelled sheets of rectified photography, survey sheets and plans, 1935–98 (MP/BIR)
  • prints of Charles Anderson’s photographs of conservation work on Hadrian’s Wall carried out between 1946 and 1974 (AND02). The negatives are held by the Vindolanda Museum.

More details of these and many other items can be found in the online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed online, including a large collection of aerial photography; for a full search, please contact the search team.

Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archives price list.

Published Secondary Sources

The fort is one of the most extensively studied on the Wall. The most comprehensive general account of the site is T Wilmott, Birdoswald Roman Fort: 1800 Years on Hadrian’s Wall (Stroud, 2001).

          

General Studies

Birley, E, Research on Hadrian’s Wall (Kendal, 1961) [overview of earlier research]

Howard, P, Camboglanna, Birdoswald Fort on Hadrian’s Wall: A History and Short Guide (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1979)

Wilmott, T, Birdoswald: A Short History and Souvenir Guide (Carlisle, 1995)

Wilmott, T, ‘A new type of building in an auxiliary fort: the Birdoswald basilica’, in Roman Frontier Studies 1995: Proceedings of the XVIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, ed W Groenman van Waateringe, E Birley and VA Maxfield, Oxbow Monograph 91 (Oxford, 1997), 581–6

Wilmott, T, ‘The late Roman transition at Birdoswald and on Hadrian’s Wall’, in The Late Roman Transition in the North, ed T Wilmott and P Wilson, British Archaeological Reports 299 (Oxford, 2000), 13–24

Wilmott, T, Birdoswald Roman Fort: 1800 Years on Hadrian’s Wall (Stroud, 2001)

Wilmott, T, ‘Research and development in the Birdoswald sector of Hadrian’s Wall, 1949–1989’, in Limes XVIII: Proceedings of the XVIIIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies held in Amman, Jordan (September 2000), ed P Freeman et al, British Archaeological Reports International Series 1084 (Oxford, 2002), 883–7

Wilmott, T, Birdoswald Roman Fort (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2005) [buy the guidebook]

    

Excavations and Survey

The list below includes all major surveys and excavations.

Biggins, JA and Taylor, DJA, ‘A survey of the Roman fort and settlement at Birdoswald, Cumbria’, Britannia, 30 (1999), 91–110 [subscription required; accessed 31 July 2013]

Biggins, JA and Taylor, DJA, ‘Geophysical survey of the vicus at Birdoswald Roman Fort, Cumbria’, Britannia, 35 (2004), 159–77 [subscription required; accessed 31 July 2013]

Gillam, JP, ‘Recent excavations at Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 50 (1950), 63–8

Haverfield, F, ‘Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee, 1897’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, old series, 15 (1898), 172–90 [accessed 17 August 2013]

Haverfield, F, ‘Inscriptions preserved at Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, old series, 15 (1898), 197–200 [accessed 17 August 2013]

Haverfield, F, ‘Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee, 1898’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, old series, 15 (1899), 345–64 [accessed 17 August 2013]

Hodgson, E, ‘Notes on the excavations on the line of the Roman Wall in Cumberland, in 1896 and 1897’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, old series, 15 (1898), 201–10 [accessed 17 August 2013]

Hodgson, E, ‘Notes on the excavations on the line of the Roman Wall in Cumberland, in 1898’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, old series, 15 (1899), 365–76 [accessed 17 August 2013]

Hodgson, J, History of Northumberland, part II, vol 1 (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1840), 207

Norman, H, ‘An account of recent excavations at Amboglanna (Birdoswald)’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 2nd series, 4 (1860), 249 [accessed 31 July 2013]

Potter, HG, ‘Amboglanna: communicated to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nov. 6, 1850’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 1st series, 4 (1855), 63–9 [accessed 31 July 2013]

Potter, HG, ‘Amboglanna: communicated to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nov. 5, 1851’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 1st series, 4 (1855), 69–75 [accessed 31 July 2013]

Potter, HG, ‘Amboglanna: communicated to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Dec. 1852’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 1st series, 4 (1855), 141–9 [accessed 31 July 2013]

Richmond, IA, ‘Excavations on Hadrian’s Wall in the Gilsland–Birdoswald–Pike Hill sector, 1928’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 29 (1929), 303–15

Richmond, IA, ‘The university excavations on Hadrian’s Wall, 1929’, Durham University Journal (March 1930), 1–7

Richmond, IA, ‘The university excavations on Hadrian’s Wall, 1930’, Durham University Journal (December 1930), 1–7

Richmond, IA, ‘Excavations on Hadrian’s Wall in the Birdoswald–Pike Hill sector, 1930’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 31 (1931), 122–34

Richmond, IA, ‘A Roman wrist purse from Birdoswald’, in Gillam, JP, ‘Recent excavations at Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 50 (1950), 69

Richmond, IA, ‘The Birdoswald hoard and its composition’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 54 (1954), 56–61

Richmond, IA and Birley, EB, ‘Excavations on Hadrian’s Wall in the Gilsland–Birdoswald–Pike Hill sector, 1927’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 28 (1928), 377–88

Richmond, IA and Birley, EB, ‘Excavations on Hadrian’s Wall in the Birdoswald–Pike Hill sector, 1929’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 30 (1930), 169–205

Simpson, FG, ‘Excavations on the line of the Roman Wall in Cumberland during the years 1909–1912’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 13 (1913), 303–6, 346–50

Simpson, FG and Richmond, IA, ‘1. Birdoswald’, in ‘Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1931: excavations on Hadrian’s Wall’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 32 (1932), 140–45

Simpson, FG and Richmond, IA, ‘1. Birdoswald’, in ‘Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1932: excavations on Hadrian’s Wall’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 33 (1933), 246–62

Simpson, FG and Richmond, IA, ‘1. Birdoswald’, in ‘Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1933: excavations on Hadrian’s Wall’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 34 (1934), 120–30

Small, F, Hadrian's Wall NMP Project – Brampton to Birdoswald: National Mapping Programme Report, English Heritage Research Department Report Series 69/2008 (Portsmouth, 2008)

Wilmott, T, ‘The Roman cremation cemetery in New Field, Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 2nd series, 93 (1993), 79–85

Wilmott, T, Birdoswald: Excavations of a Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall and its Successor Settlements: 1987–92,  English Heritage Archaeological Report 14 (Swindon, 1997)

Wilmott, T, ‘A possible prehistoric cist from Birdoswald, Cumbria’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 3rd series, 4 (2004), 27–38

Wilmott, T, Cool, H and Evans, J, ‘Excavations at the Hadrian's Wall fort of Birdoswald (Banna), Cumbria: 1996–2000’, in Hadrian’s Wall: Archaeological Research by English Heritage 1976–2000, ed T Wilmott (Swindon, 2009), 203–395 [chapter 6]

Material Culture

Cramp, R, ‘Anglo-Saxon pin from Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 64 (1964), 90–93

Detsicas, AP, ‘Figured samian from Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 68 (1968), 31–50

Donaldson, GH, ‘A reinterpretation of RIB 1912 from Birdoswald’, Britannia, 21 (1990), 207–14 [subscription required; accessed 1 August 2013]

Jobey, I, ‘Housesteads ware: a Frisian tradition on Hadrian’s Wall’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th series, 9 (1979), 127–43

McIntyre, J and Richmond, IA, ‘Tents of the Roman army and leather from Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 34 (1934), 62–90

Nikolaus-Havé, F, ‘Der Herkules von Birdoswald – Unikum oder Fälschung’, Archäeologische Anzeiger, 3 (1986), 571–81

Swinbank, B and Gillam, JP, ‘Pottery from the Vallum filling at Birdoswald’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 50 (1951), 54–62

Watson, GR, ‘The Birdoswald hoard; the pay and the purse’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 54 (1954), 61–6

             

Garrisons

Coulston, JCN, ‘A sculptured Dacian falx from Birdoswald’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th series, 9 (1981), 348–50

Wilmott, T, ‘ Cohors I Aelia Dacorum: a Dacian unit on Hadrian’s Wall’, Acta Musei Napocensis, 38/1 (2001), 103–22

        

Roman Name of the Fort

Haverfield, F, ‘The Roman name of Birdoswald fort’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, 18 (1918), 223–9

Mann, JC, ‘Birdoswald to Ravenglass’, Britannia, 20 (1989), 75–80 [subscription required; accessed 1 August 2013] 

Technical Reports and Unpublished Secondary Sources

Many of the English Heritage AML Reports listed below can be downloaded from the Historic England Research Reports database.

Blood, K, ‘Birdoswald (Banna) Roman Fort and environs’, unpublished field survey, RCHM(E) (1987)

Hill, P, ‘Survey of excavated and standing stone, Birdoswald Roman Fort: parts 1 and 2’, unpublished report in Birdoswald site archive [Tullie House Museum, Carlisle] (1991)

Hill, P, ‘Survey of excavated and standing stone, Birdoswald Roman Fort: part 3’, unpublished report in Birdoswald site archive [Tullie House Museum, Carlisle] (1992)

Huntley, JP, ‘Macrobotanical remains from the Roman fort of Banna (Birdoswald, Cumbria)’, AML Reports (new series) 104/1991, English Heritage (1991)

Hutchinson, ME, ‘Identification of material of three intaglii from Birdoswald, Cumbria’, AML Reports (new series) 74/1991, English Heritage (1991)

Izard, K, ‘The animal bones from Birdoswald, CAS site 420, Cumbria, 1986–90’, AML Reports (new series) 13/93, English Heritage (1993)

Lewis, M, ‘A palynological investigation of deposits from Midgeholme Moss, a valley mire adjacent to Birdoswald Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall, Cumbria’, unpublished undergraduate dissertation, King’s College London (1993)

McDonnell, JG, ‘The ironworking evidence from Birdoswald Roman Fort, Cumbria’, AML Reports (new series) 100/1991, English Heritage (1991)

Walton and Lee, Messrs, ‘The Birdoswald estate near Gilsland, Cumberland’ (1901) [sale of estate document, held in the Birdoswald site archive, Tullie House Museum, Carlisle]

Watts, S, ‘The investigation of a group of enamels from Birdoswald’, AML Reports (new series) 21/1994, English Heritage (1994)

Whitworth, AM, ‘The Hadrianic frontier system between Bowness and Gilsland: an analysis of the Wall material and its reuse in later structures’, unpublished BA dissertation, University of Durham (1984)

Wiltshire, PEJ, ‘Interim palynological report from Birdoswald Roman Fort and Appletree turf Wall, Cumbria’, AML Reports (new series) 3/1992, English Heritage (1992) 

                  

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