Aquis Querquennis

Why was there a Roman camp here? - AquisQuerquennis 3D

Aquis3D 15 May, 2020 No Comments

Why a Roman camp in Orense?

Very late in the 1st century AD, in the time of the Emperor Vespasian, Rome decided to open a shorter and more direct route between Braga and Astorga, the so-called Via Nova, through the internal lands of Gallaecia. It was opened in the 79 AD in the name of the emperor Tito by his legate and governor of the province of Hispania Citerior, Gaius Calpetanus Rantius Quirinalis Valerius Festus. It filled a need for all the inhabitants of Gallaecia, which Rome felt under pressure to solve, not only to satisfy the local people but also to accelerate the urbanisation process of these remote regions while, at the same time, establishing more suitable control over the mining resources of the area.

The legate in person, in the midst of a procession of more than a hundred companions, appeared in this land to open the road on an August evening in 79 AD. He stayed in the camp praetorium and, after 3 days of living with the soldiers, he left for Braga. He returned a week later, from the conventus (regional) capital to Aquae Flaviae (Chaves), where he had some more important openings to declare.

Milestone signalling the Roman Via Nova - Aqvis Qverquennis
Milestone signalling the Roman Via Nova – Aqvis Qverquennis

Therefore, this military camp was established on the banks of the Limia, then at the eastern end of the Quarquernos territory, due to the construction of the road; for the engineers and other military technicians in charge of planning and directing the opening of the new official routes from Rome.


Also, the Aquis querquennis camp was important for the carefully constructed shape of its location and the perfection of the defensive wall surrounding it, whose imposing doors were a prominent feature. Of particular importance was the careful attention paid during its layout and, once completed, the admiration such a unique monument aroused among the inhabitants of the region. Even the garrison soldiers were unanimous in their opinion that it surpassed establishments of a similar nature existing elsewhere, both in efficiency and in beauty, despite not using lime mortar in the amalgamation of the granite wall stones.

Aquis Reconstruction - Aerial View
Aquis Reconstruction – Aerial View

When the northern sector of the wall was dug, a conical plumb was found on the construction site, with an iron hook for suspension, which some believe was part of the plumb lines used to lay out the camp. There were also imprints from a hoist, as an indication of the methods the builders used to erect the walls and doors. It was also found that the material used to build the walls was granite; while tiles were used to cover the main buildings, although straw was often used in other buildings for the same purpose.