Legionary Entrenching Tool

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Roman legionary entrenching tool

Date Acquired  2004
Location Discovered Balkans
Material  Iron
Dimensions 28cm long x 17cm wide
Roman Empire 1st to 3rd Century AD

An Iron Legionary Entrenching tool used to make the fortified camp after every days march.  Believed to have been used in conjunction with the Legionary's Dolabrae/pickaxe.  The shovel shaped side would have been used for moving earth while the pick axe side would have been used to loose the earth. 

Roman Legions, especially when in hostile territory would make a square shaped camp once they were to settle in for the night.  The layout was very systematic and similar to a city plan, with streets/paths running in a grid pattern through out.  Part of the army would guard while the other built the rampart that surrounded the camp, providing fortification in case of an assault by the enemy.  Many examples of these camps still remain today.

This tool would have been used in the construction of this rampart.

The Iron is in great condition and the item still maintains a strong distinct shape.  A center hole remains where a wooden handle would have once been. (1)(2)(3)


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(1) References to similar items: COWAN, Ross; Roman Legionary AD 161-284, page 19 2003.

(2) References to similar items: STEPHENSON, I.P; Roman Military Equipment "The Later Empire", page 101 2001.

(3) References to similar items: CONNOLLY, Peter; The Legionary, page 19 2000.

**Note on background. A Fresco from the ancient Roman City of Pompeii. The interior walls of a wealthy Roman's Estate 79AD. Picture taken July 2005.