Fort NamesCastellum nomen

The following data gives us the names of the forts on and some surrounding Hadrian’s Wall as dictated by these sources...

Rudge Cup, Amiens Skillet, the Antonine Itinerary, The Notitia Dignitatum and The Ravenna Cosmography

...While the following text is taken from ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ by David J. Breeze and Brian Dobson with permission from the former.

Rudge Cup and Amiens Skillet : These are a small bowl and skillet (small vessel with a long handle) respectively, with a running border around their rims representing the Wall, and carrying the names of the Wall forts in the western sector. Presumably there were matching vessels completing the series. The absolute date suggested for the Rudge Cup on the basis of its decoration is c. 150, but a date when the Wall was standing empty seems improbable, and the evidence does not rule out the reign of Hadrian, a more probable date.

The Antonine Itinerary : This is apparently a collection of some 225 routes used for particular journeys. The longest route has been associated with a journey taken by the emperor Caracalla, but this does not necessarily date the others. There is a discussion of the date of the route which includes Blatobulgium (Birrens) and Castra Exploratum (Netherby). This is discussed in the book on page 148 of the fourth edition, 2000.

The Notitia Dignitatum : An official document which gives among other things a list of army units under the command of the generals of the Empire. The date of the British section has been much discussed. Here the view is taken that this part of the document dates to the very end of the Roman period of Britain, c. 411. The section includes a sub-section entitled ‘also, along the line of the Wall’ and the certain identifications show garrisons which are the same as those known in the late second and early third century.

The Ravenna Cosmography : A compilation of the late seventh century of the countries, towns and rivers of the known world. The British section seems to be based on reading off names from roadmaps or books.

There is no debate about the names of the forts on the Wall reading east to west from Wallsend to Great Chesters. The difficulty lies in fitting names to the known forts west of Great Chesters, as the sources disagree among themselves. No satisfactory solution has yet been offered.

** primary fort on Hadrian’s Wall

Modern NameRoman NameNotitia Dignitatum
** WallsendSegedunumSegeduno
** Newcastle Upon TynePons AeliusPonte Aeli
** BenwellCondercumConderco
** RudchesterVindobalaVindobala
** Halton ChestersOnnumHunno
** ChestersCilurnumCilurno
** CarrawburghBrocolitiaProcolitia
** HousesteadsVercoviciumBorovicio
** Great ChestersAesicaAesica
** BirdoswaldBanna~ ~ ~
** CastlesteadsCamboglannaAmboglanna
** StanwixUxelodunumPetrianis
** Burgh-by-SandsAballavaAballaba
** DrumburghConcavataCongavata
** Bowness-on-SolwayMaia~ ~ ~
South ShieldsArbeiaArbeia
CorbridgeCorstopitum
ChesterholmVindolandaVindolana
MaryportAlaunaAlione