Limes Research: the Canabae of Carnuntum

The Canabae of Carnuntum – a Model for the Civilian Settlements of Roman Military Camps?


Researcher: Ch. Gugl

The archaeological state of research in regard to the Roman canabae, the civilian settlements surrounding military camps, is still not as good as to the ‘Kastellvici’, i.e. the settlement type that developed around auxiliary forts. The smaller amount of sites, the size of the settlements and especially the continuing post-antique re-building, often in form of medieval cities, are the decisive factors for this unequal state of research.

Especially in the German and Britain provinces, excavations and prospections by aerial view and geophysics provided a very detailed picture of the market towns that had developed in the vicinity of the auxiliary forts. Because of their special significance however, one prefers to grant the sites of the military camps the function of the role model, even though this is not necessarily evident in regard to the state of research.

In collaboration with the Archive for Aerial Photography of the Department of Prehistoric and Medieval Archaeology of the University Vienna (Michael Doneus, Nives Doneus) and the Museum Carnuntinum (Franz Humer) a complete coverage of the canabae of Carnuntum shall be carried out which combines the archaeological aerial view examinations of the past years with the already published excavation results.

Because of the open, mostly agriculturally used terrain, the conditions in the area around the military camp of Carnuntum are especially good. At no other site along the Rhine and Danube border, the dimension and the settlement structure can be documented with the help of aerial archaeology as well as in Carnuntum and can also be set in context to the military camp and the neighboring civilian city.

Luftbildauswertung und archäologische Feldbegehungen (Artefaktverteilung) in der südlichen Lagervorstadt (© 2015 Gugl/ÖAW)