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TRAIECTUM (Utrecht) Netherlands.

One of the forts in the Limes Germanicus Inferior was in the center of the Utrecht (It. Ant. 368). In A.D. 47 Claudius made the Rhine below Bonna the frontier of the empire; the legions beyond the river were retired and the line fortified. In the Netherlands, where there were three or more branches of the river, the military authorities chose the one that Pliny (HN 4.101) called a modicus alveus, which kept the name of Old or Crooked Rhine. The fort was rebuilt in 818 after devastation by the Vikings. A mediaeval town grew up around it which became an episcopal see.

Remains of the fort of A.D. 47 have been found 3.8 m below the cathedral square. It was rebuilt four times, and each time fill was brought in to reach a higher level, from ca. 1.5 to 3 m + NAP Dutch Datum Level = sea level. In periods I-IV it was built of wood with ramparts of earth and wood (110 x 130 m), but in period v it was rebuilt in stone (125 x 150 m); in all periods the fort was surrounded by a ditch (fossa fastigata). Periods I-II: 47-69; III-IV: 70 to end of 2d c.; v: end of 2d c. to middle of 3d. Two of the four gates have been found, the porta principalis dextra and the porta decumana; the stone gates of period v were flanked by towers with semicircular bastions on the outside. Some remains of the barracks of successive periods have come to light, but the principia has been completely excavated; in all periods it was a building ca. 27 x 27 m, with an atrium, a cross hall, and a series of five rooms. The middle room was the sacellum, or shrine of the standards, and in period v it had a stone altar. The foundations of an altar were found also in the center of the atrium.

The destruction caused by the revolt of Iulius Civilis in A.D. 69-70 is indicated by a heavy burnt layer, dated by a treasure of 50 aurei (the two latest coins were struck in 68). The fort seems to have been destroyed some decades before the invasion of the Franci in A.D. 270; some sherds of 4th c. pottery perhaps show some patrol activity by the Roman army, but the limes forts were not reconstructed. The finds are in the Central Museum.


A. E. van Giffen et al., Wetenschappelijke verslagen der opgravingen op het Domplein te Utrecht, I-IV (1934-38).


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.15
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