Tablet 156

description 96 x 30 mm.
Ten joining fragments of a leaf which contain the beginning of a report of the same general type as 155 and 157. It is dated 7 March and reports the activities of three groups of men, one building a hospitium, a second working at lime-kilns and a third to get clay for making wattle fences for the castra. This may all relate to routine construction work.


'7 March
sent with Marcus, the medical orderly, to build
the residence, builders, number 30
to burn stone, number 19 (?)
5to produce clay for the wattle fences of the
camp ... '


1. After the date heading, 155.1 records a total number of men in the fabricae but there is no corresponding entry here.

2. hospiti[u]m: in a military context the word normally means the residence of a particular officer or a soldier's billet in a civilian house (see P.Dura 107.i.22 and note, Adams (1992b), 5). The building at Vindolanda is surely in the fort but it is not specified as being assigned to an individual; perhaps it is simply a residence used as a guest-house (see TLL VI.3 3037). Despite the reference to the medicus (see below), this surely can have nothing to do with a hospital (for the ualetudinarium at Vindolanda see 155.6). cum Marco medico: there is no serious doubt about the reading of the name and title. What precedes it is very dark on the photograph; we might expect cum (cf. ChLA XI 454.32-4, 155.14), for which there may be room if we suppose that the pieces did not fit flush at this point, thus allowing for the loss of u and most of m at the end of the preceding word. For medici in the army see Davies (1989), 213-4 and cf. CEL 57 (Vindonissa), CEL 14 (Valkenburg). Marcus can quite well be used as a cognomen, P.Brooklyn 24.ii.13 and note (Thomas and Davies (1977)); cf. 184.ii.21, 207.11.

3. structores: cf. 155.3 and note. What is before the numeral is obscured by dirt and the corresponding point in line 4 is badly abraded. We may have nothing at all (as in 155) but if the mark in line 3 is ink it looks more like n(umero) than h(omines), which we might expect in view of in 155.1 and 157.

4. There is some abrasion in this line but we are confident of the reading. After lapidem, which is certain, fl is clear, then am are bare traces, but the remainder of the word looks very good and makes excellent sense. This group is likely to be dealing with lime (cf. 314.2 and note the entry ad furnaces in 155.7). For quarrying in this region see 314 introduction, Jones and Mattingly (1990), 217 and map 6.37. For a brief description of the chemistry of the process, Rosenfeld (1965), 192.

5-6. lutum: see 155.8. For faciendum cf. Cato, Agr. 14.3, terram unde lutum fiat. For clay deposits in the area see VRR I. uim[ini]bus: ui and bus are certain, despite the loss of the bottom of b, and the restoration fits the space and makes excellent sense; cf. Tacitus, Ann. 12.16, moenis non saxo sed cratibus et uimentis aduersum inrumpentis inualida. It seems likely, though it is impossible to be sure, that castrorum refers to Vindolanda itself, rather than some neighbouring fortlet.

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