Forged Brick-Stamps from Pevensey
D. P. S. Peacock
 In Britain, epigraphic mention of the emperor Honorius is restricted to a number of bricks or tiles from the Shore Fort of Pevensey in Sussex (Eph. Epigr. ix, 1281). The bricks stamped HON AUG ANDRIA are supposedly evidence for the refurbishing of the defences during the emperor's reign (395-423 AD). A few fragments in the poems of Claudian praise the victory of Honorius's general, Stilicho, over the Irish and Picts and they mention that the coast was made secure against Saxon attack (Frere, 1967, 363). This took place between 395 and 399 AD and the bricks from Pevensey have been held as the sole archaeological evidence of the campaign. They are thus important documents and it is not surprising that they have been mentioned in numerous books and papers dealing with the end of the Roman occupation. However, evidence has recently come to light which leaves little room for doubt that the stamps were forged in the early twentieth century, a possibility to be discussed below.
DISCOVERY OF THE BRICKS
On 11 April 1907, Charles Dawson, later to become known as the discoverer of Piltdown man, exhibited before the Society of Antiquaries of London, some inscribed bricks and tiles from the Roman fort at Pevensey (Dawson, 1907). The specimens were shown in two trays, one containing material collected by Dawson himself, the other with fragments lent by the gentlemen in charge of the then current excavations.
Dawson drew attention to a portion of a black brick which he had discovered beneath the arch of the postern gate in the north side of the wall, in the year 1902. The brick, which had the usual semicircular marking, bore an oblong impression with the relief letters HON AUG ANDRIA, a photograph of which is reproduced in the published account. At this point in the text a footnote refers to a red brick, from the eastern part of the wall, bearing the mutilated outline of the same stamp. Dawson continued with a discourse on the possible interpretations of the word ANDRIA, and in conclusion drew attention to a third brick with part of the same impress ion, found during the Pevensey excavations This piece, bearing the letters . . ON AUG . . . NDR . . ., was again referred to in Salzman's report on the 1907 excavation seasons at Pevensey (Salzman, 1908). The fragmentary inscription was read by comparing with Dawson's more perfect example.
There is however, evidence for the existence of four rather than three stamps. The version of Salzman's report circulated to subscribers is accompanied by a plate, later partly reproduced in the Victoria County History of Sussex, Vol. 3. It shows a brick or tile with a semicircular marking in the middle of which is a clear HON AUG ANDRIA stamp. In one corner of the plate is inscribed, 'Stamped tile from Pevensey Castrum C. Dawson F.S.A 1902', and presumably this is the piece upon which Dawson's discourse began. However although the stamp is clearly from the same die as the one illustrated in his paper, since the lettering and texture of the background are identical, the photographs are different and the stamp illustrated in Salzman's paper has a chip removed from the bottom right hand corner. In my opinion the two photographs are unlikely to be of the same stamp for there are many points of detail which do not tally. The chipped specimen is in the British Museum and examination of the original strengthens this suspicion. It is certainly not the mutilated specimen referred to in Dawson's footnote for it is gray-black, not red, in colour. Thus three stamped bricks are specifically mentioned by Dawson while the existence of a fourth is implied by his illustration.
THE EXISTING MATERIAL
In view of the importance of the material it is perhaps surprising that
only two of possibly four pieces can now be located. The near complete stamp
illustrated in Salzman's paper  (Fig. 1a ) is in the British
Museum (Cat. No. 1908, 6-13, 1), while the fragmentary specimen from the
Pevensey excavations is in Lewes Museum (Fig. 1b ). Both are in a
similar fine, hard, grey fabric, the British Museum example having blue-black
surfaces, while the Lewes specimen is slightly brown in places. Thin sectioning
reveals fine quartz grains (o.o2 mm. across) set in a matrix of grey optically
isotropic fired clay. Both bear traces of mortar and the fractured surfaces
are coated with a pale grey deposit, shown by X-ray diffraction to consist
principally of finely divided quartz.