APVLVM (MUNICIPIUM SEPTIMIUM APULENSE) – St. Francis de Paola Raveline Archaeological Project. Southern area of the civil settlement belonging to the XIIIth Legion Gemina’s camp, autumn 2010.

Raveline St. Francis of Paola is located in the south-eastern area of the Vauban citadel (Alba Iulia, Romania) between the bastions of Eugene of Savoy (Bastion Bethlen) and St. Stephen (Steinville) 135 m south from the porta principalis dextra of XIII th Legion Gemina’s camp, occupying an area of about 8346 sqm.

the researched area

Alba Carolina – The Vauban Fortress 1715-1738 (Southern Route )

Apulum urban evolution presents a unique appearance and development of two Roman centers. The first city (Apulum I), municipium Aurelium Apulense, was founded during Marcus Aurelius (after 160 AD) and was granted the status of a colonia (colonia Aurelia Apulensis) under Commodus. (180-192 AD.) The second city (Apulum II) appeared under Septimius Severus (193-211 AD) – municipium Septimium Apulense which coexisted with the first city.

MUNICIPIUM SEPTIMIUM APULENSE was located in the southern part of the camp. If municipium Aurelium Apulense is outside a leuga (2.2 km), during Septimius Severus, this rule change, transforming a part of the XIIIth Legion Gemina canabae in municipium showing his gratitude for the Danubian legions who helped him.

plan of the XIIIth Legion Gemina’s camp, municipium Septimium Apulense and Praetorium Consularis, after A. Diaconescu, I. Piso, 1993.

Camp Legion XIIIth Gemina and the civil settlement (canabae) are placed on the second terrace of the Mures River. The camp dating from the IInd – IIIrd century AD, was built after the conquest of the province Dacia during Marcus Ulpius Trajanus (after 106 AD). From Hadrianus (117-138 AD) and continuing with Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD) was rebuilt in stone (opus quadratum technique), XIIIth Gemina Legion remaining in camp until leaving the province.

the southern gate (porta principalis dextra) of the XIIIth Legion Gemina’s camp (restoration).

The stratigraphy of St. Francis de Paola raveline is characterized by the presence of several levels of habitation and planning. The oldest archaeological materials are from early Bronze Age period. This level is followed by Roman habitation (IInd-IIIrd centuries A.D.) in the southern area of the camp legion XIII Gemina. Last phase of Roman habitation is superimposed and partially affected by an early medieval level (Xth-XIIth). Current form and specific arrangements of the raveline date from the eighteenth century, when the Vauban fortification was built along with its specific elements.

view of the St. Francis de Paola Raveline 2009

the St. Francis de Paola site after 2010 campaign.

The first campaign of systematic archaeological research at this point began in autumn 2009 and continued in 2010, by investigating the NNW side of the raveline. Technical organization of the excavation was reported to the final objectives of the research, namely the restoration and preservation in situ of the remains. The main archaeological complex is a Roman building whose walls have been discovered at -0.40 to – 0.60 m depth, after removing a substantial layer of tegulae and Roman bricks belonging to the collapsed roof. It was discovered the SSV side of the building and several rooms.

The central room is larger and the brick foundations of two rectangular pillars (0.50 x 0.50 x 0.30 m and 0.50 x 0.50 x 0.35 m) were found inside.

Walls are partial elevations and were affected in some places by the destruction of the Roman period or medieval and modern pits. Their construction technique is opus mixtum, with bounding courses of limestone blocks and green sandstone followed by bricks. One of the walls retains traces of painted polychrome plaster.

roman wall elevation – opus mixtum

painted wall plaster

A paving with large plates of greenish sandstone was discovered outside the Roman building with two columns collapsed aside.


opus signinum (cocciopesto pavement)

terracotta tesserae

remains of the hypocaustum



roman coins


roman brooch – swastika type (first half of the IIIrd century AD)

roman millstone


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