(Maryport) Cumberland, England.
The name Alauna derives from the Ravenna Cosmography
. The Roman fort lies on a cliff with a wide outlook across the Solway Firth, and commands the mouth of the river Ellen. We may presume that the fort was
built as part of the coastal defenses which continued
the system of Hadrian's Wall SW along the shore of
The fort (ca. 160 x 150 m, an area of 2.4 ha) faces
seaward. Stone-robbing in the 17th and 18th c. has removed most of the Roman walls, and the site was also
subject to several ill-recorded excavations during the
same period. Excavation in 1966 produced evidence of
occupation from ca. 125 to the end of the 4th c.
A large number of inscriptions from earlier excavations provide important evidence for the units in garrison. These were the following cohorts: I Hispanorum
equitata (under Hadrian); I Delmatarum (under Antoninus Pius); I Baetasiorum c.R. Two other units, of
uncertain title, are also attested. Three of the four known
units were cohortes quingenariae, though the fort was
certainly large enough for a cohors milliaria equitata.
There is nothing to indicate the use made of the extra
The original parade ground lay NE of the fort, and a
series of altars was found buried near it. A new parade
ground was created in the 3d c. SW of the fort. The area
to the NE, along the cliff, was occupied by an extensive
civil settlement, defended by a bank and ditch which
also enclosed the fort. Outside this enclosure there was
apparently some ribbon development beside the road
which led SE to Papcastle. There is slight evidence for
Roman harbor installations on the S bank of the Ellen,
but these, like much else, have been covered by the modern town.
The site of the fort, however, remains open, and the
defenses may readily be identified; nothing else can be
seen except the spoil heaps of stone robbers. Most of the
important inscriptions and sculptured stones are preserved
at Netherhall, Maryport.
E. Birley, Research on Hadrian's Wall
M. G. JARRETT