Amber Road and the Limes: The stationing of the Legio II Italica in Noricum

The priority project on the Legio II Italica consists of three detailed studies and is focused on the military infrastructure of the three legionary locations of Ločica, Albing, and Enns and furthermore in Enns/Lauriacum the settlement areas extra muros and the material culture of the retinue.

The military camp of the Legio II Italica (Ločica – Albing – Enns)

 


 

The function of the Amber Road as via militaris is the starting point for a supraregional project on the Legio II Italica founded following the Marcomannic Wars. As a reaction against the hostile attacks on Italian territory in 169 CE, a legion was recruited and the praetentura Italiae et Alpium was created. With the creation of this military district it was now possible to deploy the Legio II quickly and on an ad-hoc basis in the area of Ločica (Slovenia) on the Amber Road. The date of the displacement of this legion after the Marcomannic wars to the Danube limes is still being discussed as is the chronological sequence of the two camps constructed only 5 km apart on both sides of the river Enns in Albing (Lower Austria) and Enns/Lauriacum (Upper Austria).

The three camps of the Legio II Italica in Ločica, Albing, and Enns were extensively studied by the OeAI with ground-penetrating radar and magnetic survey. Furthermore, an updated plan was created for the legionary camp in Enns based on all available excavation documentation.

The location of the Legio II Italica in Enns/Lauriacum


As part of the research on the history of the Legio II Italica the settlement areas extra muros of Enns/Lauriacum are being geophysically surveyed and archaeologically interpreted. Based on the different structures five settlement zones can been discerned. In the zones 1–2 buildings extend to the west and south of the legionary camp with sophisticated floor plan solutions; they usually include courtyards and corridors as well as occasionally their own bathing facilities. Zone 3 in the far west and southwest and to the north of the camp is characterized by very small types of buildings; Zone 4 is located 250 m northeast of the military camp and defined by pit houses and workshop areas. It is connected to a large industrial zone to the northeast of the camp (zone 5).

The consistentes ad legionem of Enns/Lauriacum 


Archaeological and historical but also socio-archaeological aspects are in the focus of the research on the canabae west of the legionary camp of Lauriacum. Around 700 excavated contexts are part of the peripheral settlement area of the consistentes ad legionem located at a distance of approximately 430 m northwest of the legionary camp. The hitherto studied artifacts indicate a dating beginning before 180 CE and ending in the last third of the 3rd century. The spectrum of the archaeological finds includes objects of excellent quality that shed a completely new light on both the commercial organization as well as the daily life of the consistentes.

Aspects of social history are being discussed on the basis of the artifacts that provide evidence on the militarization of the society, acculturation through literacy as well as the new role model of women in northwest Noricum through the deployment of the Italian legion. Questions about the functional interaction of ancient economy can be analyzed on both a supraregional level based on the large number of imports as well as on a local level through the interaction of various production units on site, particularly the production of pottery.