Roman quarry inscription on Queen's Crags, 680m south east of East Hotbank


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Bardon Mill
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 79455 70572

Reasons for Designation

The Roman conquest of Britain brought a signficant increase in the requirement for building stone and generated the first major quarrying industry to be developed in England. Quarries were opened and exploited from soon after the conquest to the end of the Roman period in the fifth century. The majority were used for a very limited period of time and met the requirements for building stone within their immediate areas. A few, including the Purbeck marble quarries, produced very high quality building stone which was transported for use over a wide area. Many were under military control to produce stone for forts or defence works such as Hadrian's Wall. Others were under the control of town authorities. In some instances they may also have been privately owned. Most provided building stone, but a few were used for more specific purposes to produce quern or mill stones. Quarrying techniques were relatively simple and involved the use of wedges, separation trenches and percussion to split lumps of rock from the parent material. Irregular blocks of stone were usually dressed to shape before being transported from the quarries. Tracks and pathways enabling the removal of stone from the quarry would also have existed. Visible remains include working faces, waste heaps and dressing floors. Today, however, very few Roman quarries can be positively identified because reuse in later times has removed much evidence for Roman activity, whilst the continued use of similar quarrying techniques over long periods often makes it impossible to determine the exact date of surviving remains. Most of the quarries which are considered to be Roman are dated on the basis of surviving inscriptions or carvings, usually on the worked face. Fewer than 50 quarries have been confirmed to retain evidence for Roman activity. In view of their rarity and the insights they provide into Roman technology and building works, all surviving examples will be identified to be nationally important.

The Roman quarry inscription on Queen's Crag survives well and is a good example of its type. Its association with Hadrian's Wall, for which the stone is thought to have been quarried, enhances the importance of the monument.


The monument includes a Roman quarry inscription, protected by an overhang, on the north face of a sandstone ridge known as Queen's Crags. The Roman fort at Housesteads lies some 1600m to the south east. The inscription, which has been carved into a smooth rock face 1.4m above the ground, marks the site of a Roman quarry. The inscription consists of four lines containing the names of three leaders of a quarrying party, two Centurians (Saturninus and Rufinus) and an Optio (Henoenus). It reads as follows:

>SATVRNINVS >RUFI[NVS HIINOIINVS OPTIO The carving of the first line has been carefully executed and on average the letters are 5cm high. The following three lines are more crudely carved and are thought to be the work of a second person.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Journal of Roman Studies' in Roman Britain in 1960, , Vol. 51, (1961), 194
NY77SE 06,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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