Engraving Identifies Roman Road Builders

News July 23, 2019

(Courtesy Zuid Holland Provincial Council)
Netherlands Roman road
(Courtesy Zuid Holland Provincial Council)

VALKENBURG, THE NETHERLANDS—According to a Dutch News report, roadwork in the southeastern Netherlands, near what was once the northern border of the Roman Empire, has uncovered a pole carved with an inscription reading "COH II CR," which is short for “Cohors II Civium Romanorum.” A total of 470 wooden poles have been recovered along a 400-foot stretch of Roman road, but none of the other poles was inscribed. The inscription is thought to date to A.D. 125, and refers to a group of 500 Romans who specialized in building work. “We did not know whether the Roman road was built by soldiers, civilians, or perhaps slaves,” said Jasper de Bruin of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities. “Now we can conclude that 2,000 years ago the second cohort of Roman civilians built the Roman road near Valkenburg, from which the present-day Rijnland Route takes its course.” De Bruin explained that the poles were created from trees grown for the purpose and driven into the ground with a pile driver. For more on archaeology of the Roman provinces, go to "The Road Almost Taken."

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