previous next

VELDIDENA (Wilten, Innsbruck) Tyrol, Austria.

In Roman times in the province of Raetia. The derivation of the name is still disputed. The town is mentioned several times in the Antonine Itinerary (256; 258; 259; 275; 279; 280) but does not occur elsewhere in the literature. Veldidena was at the junction of the road which went N (to Augusta Vindelicum) from Italy (Verona) via the Brenner and Teriolis, and the road that followed the Inn downstream. The center of the site is supposed to have been in the area of the modern Wilten Convent. The area of finds extends N to the line of the Arlberg railroad, in the E to the Sill river, in the S to the Isel mountain, and in the W not far beyond the Brenner road. Hardly anything is known about the history of the place in Early Imperial times. After the Roman occupation it may have had a certain importance as a way station on a supply road. During the Alemannic wars this importance increased when Septimius Severus is known to have guarded the Brenner road with particular care. A silver hoard of 527 denarii and some ornaments indicate that the place was within an endangered area.

Excavations in 1953-57 unearthed a castellum (72 m square) immediately N of the convent. The enclosure wall is 2.5 m thick. At the corners stood four towers (8.3 m square); in addition there were four intermediate towers (6 m square) jutting out from the wall. The intermediate tower on the W side was constructed as a gate tower. Ramparts and trenches were not found. In the interior, tripartite halls (60 x 15 m) were attached to the N and S wall; they served probably as shelters and warehouses. Between them was a paved courtyard. To judge from the ground plan, the castellum dates from the time of Diocletian and the coins confirm this; they are without exception from the 4th c. A.D. Comparable to it are the castella from Irgenhausen (Canton Zurich, Switzerland) and from Schaan (Liechtenstein). Another tripartite hall of similar size had been built ca. 100 Roman feet S of the castellum. The whole establishment represents a combination of fortifications and horrea. It certainly housed a small garrison and in addition served a double function (like Teriolis only 10 km W of Innsbruck) as a fortification on the second line of defense, and as a supply station fortified in later times.

A necropolis contains both cremation and inhumation graves from the 2d and 3d c. A.D. North of it was the civilian settlement.

When toward the end of the 6th c. A.D. the Bavarians invaded from the N on their way S via the Brenner, Veldidena perished. Clear signs of fire in the castellum testify to the destruction.

The finds from Veldidena are mainly in the Tiroler Landesmuseum in Innsbruck, a small part in the Wilten Convent.


A. Wotschitzky, “Veldidena,” RE VIII A 1 (1955) 613ff; id., “Veldidena. Zweiter vorläufiger Bericht über die Ausgrabungen 1954-1957,” JOAIBeibl 44 (1959) 5ffPI.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: