Attested: Certisnassa at position 255 in the Ravenna Cosmography where it is touring harbour estuaries.
Where: Mouth of the river Wear, which reaches the sea at Sunderland, around NZ4158.
Name Origin: Latin certis ‘fixed’ (locative plural of certus) and nassa ‘fish trap’.
Notes: Fishing weirs in tidal estuaries are a very ancient way of gathering food. The certis part presumably indicates permanent structures as distinct from lots of lobster pots. In discussing the Brigstanes Roman sill-dam across river Wear at Hylton, which was probably Dictim, Selkirk (1995:210-4) commented “no doubt the dam was used as a fish-trap [but] why build [there] when there were extensive shallows ... only a few hundred yards away”. See here for some photos of the Roman stones of the sill-dam, and a discussion of other Roman traces in Sunderland, or here for a newspaper article summarising all evidence for a Roman presence in Sunderland.
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Last edited: 12 February 2020 To main Menu