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found at Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Axehead.
© National Museums Scotland


This iron axehead was found at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. It was used between 80 to 100 AD.

The axehead was made by forging a solid piece of iron. It bears the punched-dot inscription 'BARRI COMPITALICI' which can be translated as 'Property of Compitalicus in the century of Barrus'.

Roman soldiers were builders as well as fighters. On the march, they built temporary ramparts and ditches around their camps. Once an area had been conquered, the army built forts and permanent barracks of wood or stone.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-196-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 236
Date: Between 80 and 100 AD
Material: Iron; inscribed with both owner's inscription and maker's mark. Inscription: [Centurial mark]; Barri; in second line: Compitalici
Dimensions: 10.00" L
What: Axe, felling / axe, shaping
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Heavy duty iron felling or shaping axe inscribed with both owner's inscription and maker's mark, from Newstead
  • Clarke, D.V., Breeze, D.J., and Mackay, Ghillean. The Romans in Scotland. An introduction to the collections of the National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, 1980, p 64. 
  • Curle, James. A Roman frontier post and its people: the Fort of Newstead in the parish of Melrose. Glasgow: Maclehose & Sons, 1911
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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