Most Roman soldiers were stationed in forts close to the borders of the empire. Patrols were sent out from the forts to keep a constant lookout for invaders. Early forts were built of wood but by the 2nd century AD most had been rebuilt in stone. Each fort had a similar layout so that soldiers could easily find their way around. Legionary forts held about 5,000 men. Auxiliary forts, like this one, held only 500 to 1,000 men.
The Roman army used large numbers of horses and ponies as mounts for infantry officers as well as cavalrymen. Mules were used to pull supply carts.
(B) FORT DEFENCES
Fort walls were about 4.5 metres high and 3 metres thick. There were watchtowers at regular intervals along the walls. A deep ditch in front of the walls made it difficult for an enemy to attack.
Grain was stored in buildings called granaries, with raised floors to keep out the damp.
The principia was the building that was the headquarters of the fort. It contained offices, archives, a shrine, storerooms, and a strong room where the soldiers' pay was kept.
Sparks from the furnaces of the fort's bathhouse could set fire to the fort, so it was always built outside the walls for safety.
The fort's commander lived with his family in a large, comfortable house called the praetorium.
Each century had its own barrack block where the soldiers ate and slept. The centurion had a private room. The soldiers slept eight to a room.
(H) CIVILIAN HOUSES
Innkeepers and shopkeepers settled outside the forts, hoping to make a living selling food and other goods.