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NAVIO (Brough-on-Noe) Derbyshire, England.

Roman auxiliary fort controlling the Peak district. The Buxton milestone shows its Roman name. There are four periods on the site: 1) An initial Flavian earth and timber fort lasting to ca. A.D. 120. 2) Reoccupation ca. A.D. 154-158, attested by an inscription of the governor Iulius Verus found reused in the sacellum of the later principia. While the latter was presumably of stone, the granaries and barracks were of timber and the orientation of the fort had been reversed. 3) Severan rebuilding in stone of at least the granaries and the principia, with remodeling of the timber barrack-blocks. 4) Early 4th c. reconstruction of the barracks as half-timbered structures, and rearrangement of the granary and praetorium. The end of the military occupation appears to have occurred shortly after A.D. 350, with no trace of a disaster.

The Antonine inscription was found early in this century, but excavations began only in 1938-39. They revealed a Flavian fort dismantled in the late Trajanic-early Hadrianic period, probably in the prelude to the construction of Hadrian's Wall. The Flavian site seemed to show considerable differences in alignment from its Antonine successor; and this was confirmed in 1966-69 with the excavation of much of the praetentura of the later fort. The Flavian plan faced in the opposite direction from that of its successors. Elements of the Flavian praetorium and granaries, for instance, appeared in the later praetentura on the N side of the Antonine via principalis. This implies that the early fort faced SW. The defenses on that side lying within the later retentura had already been discovered. At the NE end Flavian construction trenches were found sealed beneath the mass of the Antonine rampart, indicating that the Flavian defenses must have extended farther N. The N side of the fort must therefore have been subject to erosion from the Noe river during the 30 or so years between the abandonment of the original fort and the Antonine reoccupation. The reconstructed dimensions of the Flavian site would therefore make it at least 1.24 ha, large enough, like Castleshaw, to accommodate a small infantry cohort.

Less is known of the middle periods of the fort's history. The Severan reconstruction fits in with developments elsewhere in the Pennines, although continuous occupation throughout the 3d c. cannot be proved. The fourth and final phase, however, is more fully documented. The praetentura of the fort was occupied by six buildings, the outside pair of which were certainly stables aligned per strigas. They measure 40.5 by 8.4 m, with the weight of the roof carried on the outside walls and a wall runnnig down the center; mucking-out drains prove that they were stables. The other half of the building in the area excavated appeared to be a workshop or smithy rather than living accommodation. Coin evidence points to the beginning of this occupation period as shortly after the reign of Carausius, and continuing to the middle of the 4th c. By implication, of course, the garrison in the late period must have been at least partly mounted, but it is not known whether the first cohort of Aquitanians known in the Antonine period was still stationed here.

A postern was apparently created in the E defenses in the early 4th c., but its function is not clear. Like the E gate, it led to the side of the hill on which the vicus lay, close to the line of the Batham Gate, the Roman road leading S to Buxton. A bath building probably lay close to the Noe at the E edge of the vicus.


G.D.B. Jones & J. P. Wild, Annual Reports in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (1965-69); id., “The Romans in the North-West,” Northern History 3 (1968) 1ffMP; id., “Excavations at Brough-on-Noe,” Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (1970) 99ffPI


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