Digs in the Bande military compound have yielded a very high volume of cultural remains; and this material can help us understand how day-to-day life was organised in the fortification.
Tools and other equipment
For various reasons, the amount of metal remains recovered from the site is not very high. All in all, a series of items can be identified that correspond to different types of tools that would have reflected different activities carried out in the fort.
For example, a particularly outstanding group would have been related to stonework activities: consisting of two stonemason picks and several iron wedges. At the moment, no dolabra – a typical pickaxe used by the Roman army to both dig and cut – has been found yet.
There is another small item that would have been related to topographic measurement, typical of surveyors. It is a small weight of lead that would be part of a groma, a levelling device used to check alignment and direction. Also, an iron pick with a ring found was identified as a tent peg.
A set of tools were found which would have been related to activities carried out in a valetudinarium: scissors (forceps), simple forceps (vulsella), forceps for dental extraction (rhizagra) and a scalpel (scalpellum).
Other items, such as a razor (nouacula) could have been for personal hygiene.
Items such as keys would suggest the existence of locks on doors, chests, boxes or furniture where valuables would have been kept. Utensils such as knives could have a very varied use. The range of metallic objects is completed by other pieces of diverse morphology and purpose, often poorly defined (e.g. rings, links and nails).
Ceramics and glass
In general, the most abundant materials in an archaeological dig are ceramics. In our case, there are a great variety of items of dishes used in the Bande fort garrison. Thus, we find items for table service, the kitchen and for storage.
Some containers would have been high quality, so-called ‘fine ceramics’, usually imported. This is the case for the terrae sigillatae, pieces made from a mould, notable for their maroon varnish, and which could be lavishly decorated. They are mostly bowls and dishes from workshops located in Tricio (La Rioja). For their part, the fine items, of Zamorano origin, would be mostly beakers for individual consumption of liquids. More frequent would be the finely produced items of grey pottery from the Braga area: goblets and jars of fine material – or of other types – jugs, bowls, pots – covered, painted or smooth.
Another large group is known by the name of ‘common ceramics’. In the main, they are kitchen ceramics that would be divided, in the case of Bande, into 6 types: pots, lids, covered dishes, jugs, mortars and pitchers. This makes us think it would be an official set of dishes, supplied by the army to cater for all the individual and collective needs of the soldiers.
These dishes are completed with other wooden utensils – e.g. basins, plates or spoons – or of metal – saucepans, frying pans, grills – of which, unfortunately, there are very few archaeological remains.
Finally, there were two ceramic creations that reveal two different activities to those of food consumption. Firstly, there are the small oil lamps that would illuminate the rooms; while, on the other hand, are the tiles that would be reused as game boards. These tabulae lusoriae would be used to play ludus latrunculorum, one of the most widespread pastimes among the soldiery.