Coriolan Horațiu Opreanu
Dan Ştefan
Vlad-Andrei Lăzărescu

Noi cercetari la Porolissum / New Researches at Porolissum

Jan. 1, 2013

late medieval flag
prospecţii geofizice
artillery warehouse
oraş roman
auxiliary fort
geophysical surveys
Roman town
Roman artillery



e authors are dealing in the first part of this study with their latest archaeological excavations in the Roman fort at Porolissum (Dacia Porolissensis). Between 2010 and 2012, a building situated on the northern side of the fort, very close to the porta praetoria, was uncovered. It is a 25 × 10 meters construction having no interior subdivisions and no heating system. Its inner stratigraphy revealed five main habitation layers each of them having a precise chronology. e analysis of the small finds and coins recovered during the excavations illustrates that the building was erected around AD 140 – 160 and functioned between AD 160 – 180/190. Around AD 200 it seems that this building collapsed and was never reconstructed. On top of the former structures, the Romans used this area for other purposes unknown to us. e destination of the building was established based on the archaeological finds recorded from the main habitation layer. Among the military equipment fittings, weapons, pottery, glass and bone objects, the most significant category of artefacts were approximately 90 rounded stone artillery projectiles having an average diameter of 9 centimetres. Taking into consideration the analogies coming from other auxiliary forts in Britain, war machines were also used by auxiliary troops positioned in conflict zones of the Roman frontier. In time of peace, these machines were sealed in special buildings called ballistaria as mentioned in the inscriptions from the auxiliary fort at High Rochester. We can conclude that the building we have researched at Porolissum had as its main destination the storing of artillery projectiles, war machines and other weapons, being a ballistarium. is identification is strengthened by its position behind the defence wall and near the main gate of the fort. A second part of the study deals with the civilian habitation at Porolissum. Around the fort, several areas having traces of stone buildings were identified. e main part was occupied by the Roman town municipium Septimium Porolissensis as several inscriptions prove such a fact. A new research project granted by the Romanian National Research Authority in 2012 entitled „Seeing the Unseen. Landscape archaeology on the northern frontier of the Roman Empire at Porolissum” (Director of the project – Dr. Coriolan H. Opreanu) allowed for extensive geophysical surveys which revealed numerous new stone structures. e most important results obtained in sectors XZ and AH refer to a series of large stone buildings and numerous dwellings unknown so far.