AttestedPunctuobice at position 47 in the Ravenna Cosmography

WhereAvebury stone circle, at SU10256995, listed by the Cosmography between Cunetio (Mildenhall) and Ventaslurum (Caerwent).

Name origin:  Latin punctum ‘point’ plus obicio ‘to throw’.  The emendation to Portu Abone suggested by Richmond & Crawford is unnecessary, though if the second element came from Latin obex ‘barrier’ one might perhaps argue that the Roman structure (possibly a lock or sill dam) at Sea Mills was meant.

Notes:  The Roman road from Cunetio to Verlucio, number 53 of Margary (1973), and part of a longer route that approximates the modern A4 from London to Bristol, was sighted from Silbury Hill, the largest artificial hill in Europe.  So Romans must have been very familiar with Avebury, the largest henge monument in Europe, just a mile to the north.  In Roman times it was far more complete (before Christian iconoclasts destroyed many stones), but being already more than 2000 years old it was probably very overgrown.  One can imagine Roman tourists gawking at the stones (many of which might already have toppled) much like modern explorers observing temples in the jungles of Mexico or Cambodia.  They might have noticed a similarity to Roman amphitheatres.

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Last edited 12 March 2020     To main Menu