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The Trimontium Museum Archive

The Pits at Trimontium (Newstead Pits).

Home | Archive | The Pits at Trimontium (Newstead Pits).

A total of 107 pits were uncovered at Newstead and upwards of twenty others were discovered in the railway cutting in 1846.

Near the surface of Pit 1 were such artefacts as a fragment of an inscribed tablet (Plate XVIII., Fig. 4), part of a brooch, two bronze rings, and links of a small bronze chain (Plate LXXXI., Fig. 16).

At 8 feet was a human skeleton and a bronze brooch (Plate LXXXVIII., Fig. 7). At 12 feet, an altar dedicated to Jupiter (Plate XVI.), and a coin of Hadrian. From 14 feet to 21 feet were animal bones, soles of shoes, fragments of leather and deer horns. At 22 feet were a complete human skull, remains of scale armour of brass and also the necks of five large amphorae.

At 25 feet, were an iron knife (Plate LX., Fig. 3), a sickle (Plate LXI., Fig. 2), a sculptured figure of a boar, arrowheads, pieces of chain armour (Plate XXXVIII.) and part of a shield (Plate XXXIV., Fig. 3).

Image shown is from Curle’s 1911 volume.

In Pit 2 was a bronze buckle (Plate LXXVI., Fig. I). 13 feet down was a large bronze wine jug with handle (Plate LV.).

In the first 18 – 19 feet of Pit 17 were the bones of horses and a skeleton of a dwarf. There were fragments of clay pots, (page 211, Fig 1), a large iron hammer (Plate LVII., Fig. 6) and a small saw (Plate LXVIII., Fig. 6).

The pits varied considerably in size. Pit 17 had a depth of thirty-one feet nine inches and on the north, Pit 61 went thirty-six feet down.

Whatever their original purpose, the pits and wells were finally used for the deposit of rubbish.

Images shown are from Curle’s volume.

Full information on the pits at Trimontium and their contents can be found in James Curle’s published work in 1911 ‘A Roman Frontier Post and its People


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