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ALAUNA (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 Solway.

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 space.

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 (1961) 216-23.


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