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Roman tombstone found at Inveresk

does anyone know of any decent images of the tombstone online please?

Website for responsible Metal Detecting
Can now confess to being called in by Larney after he found it... so here is a good piccy!

taken the day he found it - I do like the fact he is called an amatuer enthusiast.. is there such a thing as a professiona enthusiast?

I stood by it for about 30 mins... just amazed... thanks to Larney Cavanagh !

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
jammy wotsit mr bajr - ta for better piccie!

Website for responsible Metal Detecting
Very nice.

Website for responsible Metal Detecting
Recording Our Heritage For Future Generations.

Posted by BAJR Host
Quote:quote:is there such a thing as a professiona enthusiast?

Off-topic I know - but I'm a professional, and I'm quite enthusiastic too!


to let, fully furnished
so does that make you a professional enthusiast or an enthusiastic professional Smile

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
David - do you have the exact inscription at all please?

website for responsible Metal Detecting
The Carberry tombstone – a provisional description

Fraser Hunter & Lawrence Keppie



Large rectangular fragment of a Roman tombstone in red-brown sandstone, 1.05m high, 0.92 m wide and up to 0.22 m thick, weighing c.340 kg. The stone originally had two sunken panels, the upper with a scene of a cavalryman riding down a barbarian, the lower with an inscription. Most of the upper is lost; what survives is a lying barbarian in the right corner, apparently naked and apparently dead. He lies with his head to the right, his legs bent, his left arm resting on his belly and his right by his side, apparently holding a sword defined by an incised line. In the left corner is a raised area, its identification unclear. All that survives of the horse and rider are the rear hoof of the horse and the foot of the rider, but the scene is a well-known one.[1] It is found on tombstones all round the frontiers of the Empire, with particular concentrations in Germania and Britannia, but this is the first Scottish example.

The lower sunken panel contains a rectangular panel with triangular projections (tabula ansata) bearing a six-line inscription which fills about two-thirds of the available space. The attached triangles are flat, while the edge of the rectangular tablet mostly comprises a double roll-moulding (irregular in places, and damaged in the lower part).

There is evidence of damage and attempts at reuse: irregular pock-marks on the inscribed surface; various short lines, perhaps from the plough; a long, shallow channel running diagonally across the inscription, deepest at the base; a horizontal line carved across the stone below the inscription; and the regular if crude removal of parts of the base (on both faces) and the underside of the left edge, as if to thin it for reuse.

The inscription (Lawrence Keppie)








‘To the shades of Crescens, cavalryman of the Ala Sebosiana, from the detachment of the Equites Singulares, served 15 years, his heir (or heirs) had this set up.’


Line 1 has faint layout lines, but none were observed on first inspection on the others. The inscription lacks any dividers between words. It is generally laid out with some generosity of space, although cramping in line 3 indicates some misjudgement.

N must represent a word which was easily understood by the reader of the text - thus I doubt ex N could stand for ex Narbonensi (from Narbonensis) or the like; or for exercitus Norici (of the army of Noricum).

Implications and ideas

The Ala Sebosiana was raised in Gaul under Tiberius, taking its name from its initial commander, and served in upper Germany until the Civil War of 69, when it sided with Vitellius and saw action in northern Italy.[2] It apparently came to Britain with the governor Cerialis in the early 70s, and is recorded at various sites in northern England into the third century on inscriptions, lead sealings and tile stamps.[3] A prefect of the unit erected an altar at Bollihope Common, Stanhope, to mark the successful pursuit of ‘a wild boar of remarkable fineness which many of his predecessors had been unable to bag’;[4] this may indicate the unit were at nearby Binchester, or may as readily be a hunting expedition by the unit’s officers. There is also a lead seal ASEB, ‘ala Sebosiana’, from Castledykes.

Perhaps most interesting is the writing tablet from Carlisle of a ‘trooper of the Ala Sebosiana, singularis of Agricola’.[5] This is of considerable interest in suggesting other members of the unit served in the governor’s bodyguard, rather earlier than the current stone.

The findspot of the Carberry stone suggests it lay near the line of the Roman road of Dere St, and the trooper was probably stationed at the fort at Inveresk, some 2 km to the NW.[6] The inscription indicates an Antonine or later date; the motif of rider and fallen barbarian is common from Julio-Claudian times into the third century.

It seems that Crescens was in the Ala Sebosiana, but seconded to the Equites Singulares, the governor’s mounted bodyguard. His service of 15 years shows he was an experienced trooper. Presumably the bodyguard is with the governor, i.e. the governor is at Inveresk. This is a further pointer to the site’s importance, attested already by inscriptions of the Imperial Procurator. It is the first appearance of the governor’s bodyguard in Scotland, although they do appear epigraphically on a number of northern sites.[7]


[1] cf. M Schleiermacher 1984, Römische Reitergrabsteine (Bonn)

[2] Tacitus, Histories III.6; P Holder 1982 The Roman Army in Britain, 109 (London); M G Jarrett, Britannia 25 (194), 41-2; J E H Spaul, Ala (Andover)

[3] From Lancaster, Quernmore tilery (linked to Lancaster) and Brough-under-Stainmore; RIB 605, 1041, 2411.88-89, 2465.1-2. They are also attested on diplomas of the British garrison, eg RIB 2401.1.

[4] RIB 1041

[5] RSO Tomlin, Britannia 29, 1998, 74 no 44; L Keppie doubts this reading.

[6] MC Bishop 2004 Inveresk Gate pp175-6 discusses the likely second-century route of Dere St in this area.

[7] RIB 1266, High Rochester; RIB 725, Catterick; RIB 1713, Vindolanda; RIB 594, Ribchester, all singulares consularis, the latter from a cavalry unit of Sarmatians; lead seals of equites singulares from Catterick, perhaps Brough under Stainmore, and Carlisle (RIB 2411.91, 254; Britannia 22, 1991, 298 no 14) and a tile from London (RIB 2489.14)

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
cant ask for better than that! Many thanks

Website for responsible Metal Detecting
happy happy happy

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."

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