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OLENACUM or Olerica (Old Carlisle) Cumberland, England.

The alternative name is suggested by a study of the Ravenna Cosmography. There has been no informative excavation of this site, which is best known for its inscriptions. The platform of the fort with a double ditch surrounding it can be clearly seen, and the civil settlement attached to it discerned on air photographs. It is obviously part of the Hadrianic defensive scheme for the NW in support of the W end of Hadrian's Wall and the coastal forts. The occupation was probably continuous from this time on.

A series of dedications show that the fort was garrisoned by the Ala Augusta, at least from 185 to 234. This is not, as was at one time thought, the Ala Petriana, which is known at Stanwix (Petriana) near Carlisle. The unit cannot have been more than 500 to fit into this fort. The main interest of the inscriptions is the evidence for the same garrison in occupation for 50 years, at a period of extensive troop movements in the late 2d c. The organization of the civil settlement in the mid 3d c. is attested by an altar to Jupiter and Vulkanus dedicated by the magistri vikanorum from money collected by the villagers. The occupation of the site is believed to extend at least into the 5th c., and perhaps even into the 9th. There is, so far, no archaeological evidence for this but a 10th c. compilation, the Historia Brittonum, mentions it if the identification of the place-name is correct.


R. G. Collingwood, “Old Carlisle,” Trans. Cumberland and Westinorland Arch. Soc. ser. 2, 28 (1928) 103-19; RIB 293-303; I. A. Richmond & O.G.S. Crawford, “The British Sections of the Ravenna Cosmography,” Archaeologia 93 (1949) 42; E. B. Birley, “The Roman fort and settlement at Old Carlisle,” Trans. Cumberland and Westmorland Arch. Soc. 51 (1951) 16-39.


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