The canabae

Topography and planning of settlements surrounding Roman legionary bases is not well-recognized. Only few settlements of that kind have been excavated so far, mainly in the western part of the Empire. Until 2012, the canabae at Novae have not been investigated regularly on its entire area.


Novae is an extraordinary case among the legionary bases in the Lower Danubian provinces which is excavated and investigated regularly. Nevertheless, the site is very difficult for any kind of archaeological research, as the presence of the numerous private parcels and vegetation puts limits to the investigations in many places. Additional problems are caused by the activity of looters. The last reason was a main cause for starting urgent research in the area of the canabae.


The principal part of the canabae lay to the west, although pre-Roman and 1st-century AD remains have been recorded also to the east of the fortress. The excavations within the area of the canabae have been focused so far on one residential quarter placed to the west of the fortress’ West Gate. Rescue excavations were carried out in the Mithraeum (or shrine Oriental divinities) to the south-west from the fortress. Apart from the fieldwalking made by the Polish and German-Bulgarian teams, no other archaeological investigations have been conducted in the area surrounding the camp.

Novae canabae Tomas copy

Based on the fieldwalking observations (made by both German and Polish archaeologists) and verified with hand held GPS devices, the outline plan of the canabae has been prepared. The plan presented above shows the spread of the archaeological material, hence probably includes both inhabited areas and cemeteries.

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 Iron balteus fitting (phot. P. Jaworski)

 Fragment of a lead mirror. Inner and outer side (phot. P. Jaworski)

 Iron construction nail (phot. P. Jaworski)

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