Roman legions, consisting of 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers, had their main bases in legionary fortresses that were at least 20 hectares large and usually of rectangular form. The legionary fortress in Poetovio, which was situated on the left bank of the Drava, above the passage over the river, was the starting point for military operations in the Pannonian Basin in the 1st century. The first legion stationed here was legio VIII Augusta. Around 45, it was substituted by legio XIII Gemina, which was transferred to the border on the Danube at the end of the 1st century.
The defence wall of the legionary fortress ran along the edge of the north-eastern slope of the Panorama hill. In the first half of the 1st century, a wooden palisade was constructed and a wide earthen rampart behind it, fortified with horizontally placed logs. The steep slope in front of the palisade was traversed by a defensive ditch. In the second half of the 1st century, the defence wall was renovated. The palisade was removed and another wall was constructed in its place, which included rectangular towers. The new walls were built from gravel and quarry stones bound by mortar, while the tower roofs were made of roof tiles. The defence wall still had an earthen rampart on the inside, and a defence ditch on the outside. According to comparison with forts elsewhere along the Empire, the defensive wall had to be about 4m high and, together with the rampart, of about the same width.
In the ground, it is possible to see the presentation of the stone defensive wall foundation with a tower, which was excavated at this site in 2020.
Archaeological excavation of the defensive walls of the legionary fortress in 2020, a view towards the south-east. A filled-in defensive ditch can be seen at the utmost left. Open pits in the centre represent a trace of vertical piles in the palisade that was a part of the earlier defensive wall of the legionary fortress. Stone foundations of the defensive walls and tower are from the later period of the fortress. Remains of a rampart on the inside of the defensive walls are visible on the right, among the tower’s foundations. 1st century.
A ground-plan of both the earlier and later defensive walls of the legionary fortress. 1st century. Archaeological excavations in 2020.
A possible appearance of the earlier defensive walls of the legionary fortress built from wood and earthen rampart. An exterior view. The first half of the 1st century.
A possible appearance of the later defence walls of the legionary fortress built from stone. An exterior view. The second half of the 1st century.
A possible appearance of the interior of the legionary fortress in the second half of the 1st century. Narrow structures more than 60m long that were built along the defensive walls probably originally functioned as military barracks. They were divided into two halves lengthwise. Each half with smaller rooms in a row was intended for about 80 soldiers (centuria). Bigger quarters for the centurion were located at the end of the building. Military barracks were discerned based on georadar survey.
A decorative plaque, possibly part of a military decoration, with a depiction of Medusa, the monster with snake hair, who averted evil. Copper alloy. Panorama, found in 2017. 1st–2nd century.
Cheek-piece of a copper alloy helmet from the top of Panorama, found in 2017. 1st–2nd century.