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Stamps on Roman bricks and roof-tiles from Sotin (Cornacum)

Mato Ilkić

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (2 MB) str. 19-54 preuzimanja: 1.397* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Ilkić, M. (2005). Pečati na antičkim opekama i krovnim crepovima iz Sotina (Cornacum). Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu, 38 (1), 19-54. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Ilkić, Mato. "Pečati na antičkim opekama i krovnim crepovima iz Sotina (Cornacum)." Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu, vol. 38, br. 1, 2005, str. 19-54. Citirano 24.11.2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Ilkić, Mato. "Pečati na antičkim opekama i krovnim crepovima iz Sotina (Cornacum)." Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu 38, br. 1 (2005): 19-54.
Ilkić, M. (2005). 'Pečati na antičkim opekama i krovnim crepovima iz Sotina (Cornacum)', Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu, 38(1), str. 19-54. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 24.11.2020.)
Ilkić M. Pečati na antičkim opekama i krovnim crepovima iz Sotina (Cornacum). Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu [Internet]. 2005 [pristupljeno 24.11.2020.];38(1):19-54. Dostupno na:
M. Ilkić, "Pečati na antičkim opekama i krovnim crepovima iz Sotina (Cornacum)", Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu, vol.38, br. 1, str. 19-54, 2005. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 24.11.2020.]

Sotin, about ten kilometers south-east from Vukovar, in antiquity was the site of Cornacum, one of the most important Roman military bases of the Croatian Danubian limes. Until now there has been no systematic archaeological excavation in Sotin which would provide an answer to the most important questions concerning Cornacum. These questions concern the problems of its position, the division between military and civil zones, and the period when the main fortifications were built and who built them. However, on the basis of certain artefacts and some other informative material, especially the geomorphological characteristics of the Sotin region, it is possible to give at least an approximate answer to these questions.We have in mind here the stamps on Roman bricks and roof tiles of which 59 examples have been found in the Sotin area. Although nine of the Sotin finds from fired clay from the military brickworks of lower Pannonia (exercitus Pannoniae Inferioris) show considerable variations in the kind of material from which they were made they all have the same stamp, EXER PAN INF. The inscription is in a long,
shallow rectanglewith no spaces between the abbreviated words which are always in relief. (Cat nos 1–8). They probably show an important building period in Cornacum during the 3rd century or perhaps a little earlier but certainly not before Trajan, when the province was divided into upper and lower Pannonia. About 100 years ago fragments of a brick were found which had been produced by the legio I Noricorum. Unfortunately we have no details about its discovery. The impressed stamp was in shape of a very long rectangle consisting of rather badly formed letters in relief forming the inscription FIGVLINAS IVENSIANAS L[EG I NOR] (Cat no 9). Legio I Noricorum was established in the time of Diocletian at the end of 3rd century, and was active during the following century as a frontier
formation on the limes. The tiles got to Cornacum from Noricum, probably through trade on the Danube. The stamp is found on ten bricks and one tile using the shortened form LVI HR C X. The letters
are always impressed (Cat nos 10–18). The building material which was used by the l(egio) (sexta) H(e)r(culia) c(ohors) (decima) began to be produced in the time of Diocletian who created this military formation. The large number of varying kinds of stamps show that they were produced over a considerable time period. In the Sotin area most bricks of this kind were found near the parish
church. They reflect the intensive final building period of the late Antiquity in Cornacum. One piece of a brick from the Sotin area has a shallow rectangular field with badly impressed letters in relief (Cat no 19). It reads from left to right, but unfortunately it is difficult to decipher it because the last part is difficult to see. In the shortened COH, in themiddle of the stamp, the letter O is somewhat larger. It is probably followed by the letter P, then T and perhaps C. The available information suggests that the mark is COHO P T C, which stands for coho(rs) p(rima) T(hracum) c(ivium) (Romanorum).
C II AVR D ANT is found on almost half of the Sotin inscriptions on Roman building materials from fired clay. There are no spaces between the letters which are always in relief (Cat no 20–41). Bricks and tiles with the mark c(ohors) (secunda) Aur(elia) D(acorum) Ant(oniniana) are to date unique in the Danube limes and reflect the stationing of that formation in Cornacum, probably during the time of Caracalla or perhaps Elagabalus. An auxiliary unit might have come even earlier which is suggested by the inscription coh(ors) (secunda) Aur(elia) D(acorum) and two lead seals also from Sotin that have not been published. Taking into account that most of the bricks and roofing tiles were found near the parish church, this was probably the place where the unit was stationed.We know that there was a very great deal of building going on in the period between 211 and 222. These bricks and tiles are probably relicts of the first important period of building in hard materials in Roman Cornacum. There are fragments of brick from Sotin on which the stamp shows the high and rather badly shaped letters AD, reading from right to left. After a large space there is a rounded letter in the upper part that could be an S, which would mean the inscription reads ADS (Cat no 42). There are two bricks from Sirmium with the same stamp, but made from different moulds, which are believed to be products of ala Dalmatarum Sagittariorum or perhaps ala Decima Sirmiensis. It is possible that the finds from Sotin refer to one of the famous cavalry units of the late Antiquity. But to form a final conclusion we need to wait until there are more examples of this stamp. On two bricks there is a stamp in the form of a tabula ansata with the short form DEC (Cat nos 43, 44). The seal of the same context is also found on a fragment of a tegula (Cat no 45). Building materials from the same mould are often found in Vinkovci. Since dec(urionum) means town
council, bricks of this kind can be associated with the brick-makers in Cibalae.We do not know for sure when they were produced, but it must have been in the time of Hadrian, when the settlement on
the Bosut became a municipality. The Sotin bricks with this stamp are the only ones in the Cornacum area for which we can be sure that were not produced by the Roman military. The last group of stamps are on three fragmented bricks discovered near the parish church.
One of them was lost at the beginning of the Croatian Independence War. On the remaining bricks (Cat no 46, 47) part of a stamp can be seen in form of an irregular circle with the inscribed part surrounded
by a pattern in the form of a triangle from the inner and outer sides. The part of the circlewith the inscription is divided into two parts. Unfortunately because of the fragmentary nature of the brick and the poor mould only a few relief letters can be made out. In the right of the upper part, next to the break the letter E is clearly visible and in the lower part the letter Ais shown upside-down. On the lost brick the letter Q was clearly visible. The inscription on this kind of stamp must have been fairly long but we do not have enough information to reach a reliable interpretation. The triangular edge of the stamp is similar to a kind of mould that was used in Cornacum by members of the cohors II Aurelia Dacorum Antoniniana. (Cat no 39–41). To interpret this group of finds properly, it will be necessary to wait for new finds with the same kind of stamp. On a number of Roman bricks and roof tiles from Sotin we find impressions of clothing (Cat
nos 48, 49) and the marks of animals’ paws (Cat no 50) that were caused by chance while they were being made and before they were fired and thus have no special meaning. On one tile a linear ornament
has been cut which suggests a cross (Cat no 51), but this is difficult to substantiate because of the fragmentary state of the artefact.
According to the positions where many varied archaeological finds have been found, Roman Cornacum developed from a Celtic Late Iron Age settlement. It developed on a position with excellent
natural conditions. This part of the Croatian Danube basin has many long, deep and relatively steep sided valleys on the edge of the Danubian loess. These provided sites for the development of settlements and if necessary for their fortification. They not only provided natural protection but allowed easy communication along the Danube. The valleys had large number of springs with abundant drinking water. All these favourable natural conditions in one place were most likely the main reason for the development of Roman Cornacum. On the north-east it is limited by a loess slope stretching along the Danube bank. From north-west to the south–east they extended from Gradina to Vrućak on the shore of the Danube. One of the most important questions relates to the positioning of the auxiliary camp. The concentration of finds of bricks and roof tiles, most of them with military stamps, near today’s parish church suggests that this was probably the north-western part of Cornacum. It is a dominant position on the very edge of the loess plains which allowed direct control of the Danube. It also afforded direct visual communication with Dalj (Teutoburgium) and Ilok(Cuccium) and surveillance of the wide barbarian region on the opposite, left bank of the river. It was about 200 m long and 100 m wide and was protected by steep slopes from almost all sides. The only natural, narrow ascent was from the south. This work has been an attempt to establish the more exact position, character and main building periods of ancient Cornacum through analysis of a single kind of artefacts. Only further research can illuminate various other aspects and reveal the true potentials of Sotin. However, we can already say that Sotin is one of the most important ancient archaeological sites in the Croatian Danube basin, and that themilitary played the decisive role in the development of this outstanding stronghold in the Pannonian limes.

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