Discovery of 66 New Roman Army Sites Reveals Clues About One of the Empire’s Most Infamous Conflicts

Roman Military Presence in Castile

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Roman military existence in Castile. Credit:

The discovery of lots of brand-new Roman Army websites thanks to remote picking up innovation has actually exposed more about among the empire’s most notorious disputes.

Analysis of the 66 camps reveals the Roman army had a bigger existence in the area than formerly believed throughout the 200-year fight to dominate the Iberian Peninsula.

The discovery of camps of various sizes — utilized for training and shelter — has actually permitted specialists to map how soldiers assaulted native groups from various instructions and to get more information about the footprint of the Roman military existence in the northern fringe of the River Duero basin — the León, Palencia, Burgos and Cantabria provinces.

Experts examined aerial photography and satellite images, developed three-dimensional designs of the surface from LiDAR information and utilized drones to develop in-depth maps of the websites. This consisted of resources from the Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN) and geoportals such as Google Earth or Bing Maps. Pinpointing areas permitted fieldwork to then occur.

Roman Military Presence in Leon

Roman military existence in Leon. Credit:

These short-lived professions typically left delicate and subtle traces on the surface area. The ditches or the earth and stone ramparts safeguarding these strongholds have actually been completed and flattened. Combining various remote picking up images and fieldwork reveals the border shape of the short-lived Roman military camps, typically a rectangular shape like a playing card.

These brand-new websites lie at the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains, where the dispute in between Romans and locals was focused at the end of the first century BC. This recommends soldiers crossed in between lowlands and uplands, utilizing ridges in the mountains to avoid of website and provide themselves more security.

The truth there were many army camps in the area reveals the enormous logistical assistance which permitted soldiers to dominate the location. Sites were utilized to assist motion to remote areas and to assist soldiers remain in the location over the cold cold weather. Some of the camps might have housed soldiers for weeks or months, and overs overnight.

The goal of the profession was to broaden the empire and to be able to make use of natural deposits such as tin and gold.

Tortolondro Roman Road Quintanilla de Riofresno

Aerial photos of the camp of Tortolondro (black) (A), the Roman roadway (white) and the camp (black) at Quintanilla de Riofresno. Credit:

The research study, released in the journal Geosciences, was performed by Andrés Menéndez Blanco, Jesús García Sánchez from the Archaeology Institute of Mérida, José Manuel Costa-García and Víctor Vicente García from the University of Santiago de Compostela, João Fonte from the University of Exeter and David González-Álvarez from the Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spanish National Research Council.

Dr. Fonte stated: “We have identified so many sites because we used different types of remote sensing. Airborne laser scanning gave good results for some sites in more remote places because it showed earthworks really well. Aerial photography worked better in lowland areas for the detection of cropmarks.”

“The remains are of the temporary camps that the Roman army set up when moving through hostile territory or when carrying out maneuvers around their permanent bases. They reveal the intense Roman activity at the entrance to the Cantabrian Mountains during the last phase of the Roman conquest of Hispania.”

There is a crucial concentration of 25 websites along the valleys of northern Palencia and Burgos, along with southern Cantabria. In the province of León, as numerous as 41 websites have actually been recorded in various valleys. These variety from little forts of a couple of hundred square meters to big prepared enclosures of 15 hectares.

Most of these Roman military websites were found in close distance of later on essential Roman towns. Sasamón, a town in Burgos that was most likely where close by the Emperor Augusto developed his camp throughout his existence in the front.

The research study will continue so specialists can analyze the relationships the Romans developed with native neighborhoods, called Vaccaei, Turmogi, Cantabri, Astures and Callaeci, according to the Greek and Latin sources.

The group is presently establishing a task to brochure and file all the Roman camps in the province of León by ways of drones, in order to acquire a much better understanding of their structures or the advancement of their state of preservation. Work is likewise continuing in Burgos and in Sasamón, consisting of a research study of the Cerro de Castarreño settlement and its conquest in the first century BC.

Reference: “Following the Roman Army between the Southern Foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains and the Northern Plains of Castile and León (North of Spain): Archaeological Applications of Remote Sensing and Geospatial Tools” by Andrés Menéndez Blanco, Jesús García Sánchez, José Manuel Costa-García, João Fonte, David González-Álvarez and Víctor Vicente García, 2 December 2020, Geosciences.
DOI: 10.3390/geosciences10120485

The findings have actually been shown cultural and heritage organisations so they can be safeguarded in future.

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