Roman Watchtower Wp 3/15 at Limes Germanicus, 83 to 260 a.d.

Roman Watchtower at Limes Germanicus 83–260 a.d.

Reconstruction of a typical Roman watchtower along the upper German Limes approximately 150 m from Kohorten-Kastell Zugmantel. Behind the wooden palisade is a V-shaped ditch followed by a high rampart. The watchtower is located a few meters behind the rampart. The first floor of the tower was used as a storage space for food and equipment. Off-duty members of the guard detachment slept and cooked on the second floor, while their buddies observed the area in front of the limes from the third story guard room or the balcony all around it. The nearest watchtowers on the flanks of this position were built within sight, but not within actual supporting distance. The Limes was not a defended line. Enemy raids broke through the line frequently and they were communicated by smoke signals during the day or with torches at night.

Watchtower at Limes Germanicus

The rear of the tower.

The rear of the tower. The modern entrance on the ground floor is designed for tourists. Roman guards would enter the watchtower through the smaller entrance on the second floor. The last man in pulled the ladder up into the tower and closed the entrance with a solid wooden door.

Ground floor storage, looking left. The legionnaires used a ladder to get into the storage area on the ground floor of the tower. The stairs were put in for tourists.

Ground floor storage, looking left. The legionnaires used a ladder to get into the storage area on the ground floor of the tower. The stairs were put in for tourists.

Ground floor storage, looking right. The ceiling supports are clearly visible.

Ground floor storage, looking right. The ceiling supports are clearly visible.

Entrance at the rear of the tower, now used as a second story window.

Entrance at the rear of the tower, now used as a second story window.

Underside of the balcony, immediately above the entrance at the rear of the tower

Underside of the balcony, immediately above the entrance at the rear of the tower

Balcony and roof section seen from below

Balcony and roof section seen from below

Rear left corner of the balcony and roof

Rear left corner of the balcony and roof

Close-up of the rear left corner of the balcony.

Close-up of the rear left corner of the balcony.

Balcony and roof construction on the left side of the tower.

Balcony and roof construction on the left side of the tower..

Tower, rampart and the crown of the palisade in front of the V-shaped ditch.

Tower, rampart and the crown of the palisade in front of the V-shaped ditch.

Cross-section of the Limes, photographed from inside the V-shaped ditch.

Cross-section of the Limes, photographed from inside the V-shaped ditch.

Rear left corner of the watchtower.

Rear left corner of the watchtower.

Balcony door on the left side of the third story guard room.

Balcony door on the left side of the third story guard room.

This watchtower and the adjacent Kohorten-Kastell Zugmantel protected a section of the Hühnerstraße road where it crosses a strategically important pass through the Taunus mountains.

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