spring of 2000, a surprise find was made in the town of
Houten, which lies roughly to the SE of Utrecht. During
the building of a cycle-tunnel under the Utrecht-Den
Bosch railwayline, an amateur archaeologist by the name
of Ben Elbertse found the remains of a Roman funeral
stone. The earth from this development was dumped
elsewhere, after which Mr Elbertse made his spectacular
The stone measures about 85x25x20 cm and was clearly cut in half during Roman times, possibly for re-use in a nearby villa. The remaining 40% of the stone shows part of a text and roughly a third of the figure of the deceased. The text on the stone can be reconstructed as:
This construction was based on a comparison by A.M.J. Derks (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) with similarly styled stones from the Rhineland around Cologne (Köln). Such stones had a rough 'foot', a piece of text and a niche with a bust of the dead. The text is also based on educated guesswork with that sort of stones in mind. Such monuments are dated between 25 and 50AD, and just two more are known from The Netherlands. The original stone may have measured 150x50x20 cm and may have stood in the garden of a villa.
Who was this Tiberius Julius Probus? Apparently he was a soldier, born as far a way as the south of France (Fréjus/Provence), serving in the auxiliary cohort called I Classica. This unit was raised by Augustus from soldiers of the fleet, and apparently it was moved to Fectio longer before the Batavian uprising in 69-70 AD then was originally thought. He is clearly wearing a toga, holding the hem with his right hand and probably holding a scroll with his missing left hand. This shows he was a Roman citizen, which complies with what we know of this unit, which was raised entirely from Roman citizens.
for the council of Houten for some time now, and all
along the stone had been kept in the town hall inside a
glass case on the ground floor near the entrance.
Suddenly it had vanished, luckily to re-appear again on
the second floor, as it happened very close to where I
work. The reason for this was the upcoming overhaul of
the complete ground floor, although that meant
withdrawing it from the public eye. Visitors will still
have access to it when they ask to see the stone at the
reception desk. I think I like it better this way - I can
see it every day now!
VortigernStudies is copyright © Robert Vermaat 1999. All rights reserved