Vercovicium

Attested:  RC Velurtion (a better reading than Velurcion or Velurticorum);  ND BorcovicioInscription ...VER...

WhereHousesteads Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall at NY790688

Name originVercovicium is a compromise spelling.  If its first part can indeed be taken as Verco-, its meaning was close to ‘work’, from PIE *werg- ‘to do, to make’.  The –vicium part must be based on Latin vicusRomanised settlement’.  So Vercovicium meant something like ‘workshop settlement’.  R&S spelled out this logic, but then swerved away onto a daft alternative because no really satisfactory Celtic descendants of this name's elements are known.  A less attractive translation is ‘village on the slope’, offered here, from PIE *wer-/*werg- ‘to turn’, but “The area surrounding the Housesteads fort is bristling with ... signs of industrial and agricultural activity”.

Notes:  Inscriptions discovered around this fort reveal garrison troops from several tribes around the lower Rhine, notably a pair of altars described here (pp 148-172) with one mention of marti thincso et dvabvs alaisiagis bede et fimmilene, which match the Frisian words bodthing and fimelthing as specific instances of the pan-Germanic thing ‘public meeting’.  A good candidate for the moot marker involved is the artificial mound near the fort known as Chapel Hill, at NY7937868338, which is exceptionally large for Northumberland.

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Last Edited: 12 February 2017