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VITUDORUM or Vitudurum (Oberwinterthur) Zurich, Switzerland.

Site 2.5 km SW of Winterthur (It. Ant. 251.5; building inscription of late Roman fortress, CIL XIII, 5249 Howald-Meyer no. 264). The pre-Roman oppidum indicated by the name has not yet been located, but the Roman site is on a S spur of the Lindberg, 15 m above the Eulach brook. About 20 B.C. the hill was occupied briefly by a garrison in connection with the campaign of Tiberius and Drusus against the Raeti.

With the foundation of Vindonissa, 45 km to the W, Vitudurum also received a garrison throughout the 1st c. A.D. as a post on the Rhine-Danube highway. The vicus developed in the 1st c., was destroyed during the events of A.D. 69 (Tac. Hist. 1.67), but was immediately rebuilt. A fort was built under Diocletian, and abandoned probably in A.D. 401. The military installations of ca. 20 B.C. are attested by traces of earth and timber construction along the E border of the spur. The highest point was left free as an observation post. The vicus developed along the Roman road (beneath the Römerstrasse) and NW towards the Lindberg and the slopes of the Kirchhülgel. The highest point of the Kirchhügel was left open except for a temple of Gallo-Roman plan (16.10 x 15.35 m). This was an earth and timber building on stone foundations which had tufa capitals on wooden posts. Its plan is marked on the stone pavement beside the church.

The Late Roman fortress was somewhat bell-shaped, with the base towards the highway. The main entrance must have been on this side, but has not yet been identified. The walls followed the contour of the hill with several wide-angled corners, max. w. 66 m, max. 1. 120 m; area 7200 sq. m). Part of the NE wall has fallen down the slope and part of the SW wall was destroyed by a later cemetery, but two stretches of ca. 60 m each are visible near the church and parsonage. In the wall (av. thickness 3 m; foundations 3.7 m) there is much reused material. Immediately N of the church is a semicircular tower (2.4 x 3.6 m). Large hewn blocks seem to have been used in this area only, which may indicate a gate, destroyed by the church tower. A ditch (35 m long, 3.5 wide, 2 deep) ran outside the SW wall. Parts of a cemetery have been excavated along the Roman highway. Finds are in the Heimatmuseum Lindengut.

(See also Limes, Rhine.)


F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit (3d ed. 1948) 271-72, 633-34; H. Bloesch & H. Isler, “Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Oberwinterthur-Vitudurum 1949-1951,” 83. Neujahrsblatt der Hülfsgesellschaft Winterthur (1952)PI; E. Meyer, RE IX (1961) 489-91; C. M. Wells, The German Policy of Augustus (1972) 56-57; summaries: Jb. Schweiz. Gesell. f. Urgeschichte 41 (1951) 129-32P; 47 (1958-59) 193; 48 (1960-61) 183-85P; 50 (1963) 87-88PI; 56 (1971) 231-32; 57 (1972-73) 345-52.


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