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Gravestone (Roman)

Site Name Carberry

Classification Gravestone (Roman)

Canmore ID 295681

Site Number NT37SE 286

NGR NT 37 70

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Inveresk (East Lothian)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County Midlothian


Artefact Recovery (2007)

NT 37 70 A large fragment of a Roman tombstone was found casually by Mr Larney Cavanagh at the edge of a field near Carberry, apparently cleared from the field after ploughing. It was erected for a cavalryman named Crescens. The upper portion, mostly lost, showed the deceased riding down a dead barbarian, a standard type on other frontiers but the first from Scotland. The lower portion has an inscription in a tabula ansata which reads: D M/CRESC[E]NTIS EQ/ALAE SEBOSIA/ EX N EQ SING/S[T]IP XV/H F C. This may be translated as '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.' The Equites Singulares were the governor's bodyguard. The Ala Sebosiana are known to have been in garrison at various sites in NW England, but have not previously been recorded at Inveresk. It is not yet clear if Crescens was serving with his own unit or was on detachment with the governor at the time of his death.

This is the first Roman tombstone found in Scotland for over 170 years, and only the fourteenth known. The exact findspot is not being divulged at the farmer's request, but fieldwork is planned. It hints at a tomb or cemetery near the Roman road S from Inveresk, but there is evidence of reworking and it may have been reused.

F Hunter and L J F Keppie 2007


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