Publication details

Římské krátkodobé tábory ve světle malakologie

Title in English The Malacozoological Evidence in Roman Short-term Camps


Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper deals with indications of snail shells in Roman short-term (marching) camps in Moravia, Lower Austria and southern Slovakia. The archaeological sites are from the period of the Marcomanni wars, when Roman troops penetrated the territory of the Germans. An analysis malacofaune resulted in two important information. The first, Romans for their resident activities chose places, which were at the time of their arrival open (without continuous canopy of trees or shrubs), as is evidenced by the high abundance of land snail shells with open habitus. The other information was much more striking: In the analysed assemblage appeared disproportionately high percentage of aquatic species. These species were bound to stagnant water, such as periodic, spring puddles and other eutrophic habitats with abundant aquatic vegetation. Such an amount of water sediment had to be brought to the site intentionally. Location of high concentrations of these aquatic species indicates a relationship with the architectural elements of Roman camps, namely mudbricks. Improving the properties of building materials clay bricks can be achieved by adding mud with a high organic content, which is documented ethnographically. Mudbricks were identified with certainty only in the site Musov "Vinohrady", so we flotated some of these mudbricks and tested for the presence of the aquatic species. Assumption was confirmed, snail shells spectrum of archaeologically identified (field distinct) mudbricks was very similar in the case of high concentrations of shells at the other sites of Roman marching camps. Therefore, it is highly probable to deduce the use of mudbricks at the other sites (eg. Závod, Charvátská Nova Ves, Přibice). It fundamentally changes the view about this kind of monuments which we now call "short marching camps" because the mudbricks production is not a quick matter, especially drying should ideally take two years. Efforts associated with exposure ditch, ramparts and palisade, which was from outside the reinforced mudbricks, does not indicate the intended short stay of Roman troops.

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