Senior Soldier Named
New discovery on display at the National Roman Legion Museum
A recent find from archaeological excavations at the Roman fortress at Caerleon this summer (2008), can now be seen at the National Roman Legion Museum.
While digging the remains of a Roman warehouse, archaeologists from Cardiff University and University College London came across a large piece of building stone with a Latin inscription. The words tell us of a man called Flavius Rufus who lived at Caerleon nearly 2,000 years ago. He was a senior centurion, which was a very important position in a Roman legion.
Although many inscriptions have been found in the area and the names of some Roman soldiers and their families are known, this is the first evidence about Flavius Rufus to be found, and the first time a name has been associated with the important position of senior centurion at Caerleon.
"As yet we know nothing further of the man, such as whether he had a family, did he die at Caerleon or move away when he retired," said Julie Reynolds, Curatorial Officer at the National Roman Legion Museum. "However, we hope further excavations in the area may lead to the discovery of more inscriptions which mention Flavius Rufus' name, and perhaps in time we can shed more light on the life story of this man."
The stone was very kindly donated to Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales by Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, who also sponsored the archaeological excavations. A short film, recording the excavation of the inscription, was made at the time by the Museum and can be seen alongside the display.
Entry to the Museum and to see the display is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.
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Notes to Editors:
A Roman soldier would have served in the army for many years before becoming senior centurion and would have been at least 50 years old when he took this title, which he could only hold for one year. He would have been paid a vast amount of money and could have retired a rich man, or moved up the promotional ladder even further.