The Eagles Have Landed exhibition takes Roman treasures on a tour of Hadrian's Wall

By Richard Moss | 24 September 2010
a photo of a bust of a Roman emperor next to a banner with the words The Eagles Have Landed
© Tullie House Museum
Exhibition: The Eagles Have Landed, Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend, until October 3 2010; Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport October 6 2010 - January 23 2011; Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, January 29 - March 13 2011; Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport – March 19 to July 2011.

While Tullie House rallies supporters to help it acquire the Crosby Garret Roman Helmet for its new Roman Frontier Gallery, a new exhibition highlighting many of the other Roman treasures found across the North of England is making the rounds of the key museums along Hadrian's Wall.

Most of our knowledge of Roman Britain, or Britannia to give it the Roman name, stems from the archaeological remains still being discovered right across the country, but the relics unearthed in the North of England within site of Hadrian's Wall are among the best. 
 
The Eagles Have Landed exhibition – named after the Eagle standard carried by each Roman legion – highlights the wealth of these remarkable archaeological finds.

Among them are Roman coins, armour and a letter written by a Roman Soldier together with a replica bust of the head of Emperor Vespasian who was in control of Rome at the time of the invasion and ordered the advancement into the unconquered territories of Northern England.

a photo of a display case with parchment and other archaeological artefacts displayed in it
© Tullie House Museum
With the help of computer interactives, the objects tell how the wild north was Romanised and introduces visitors to the many stories surrounding Hadrian's Wall. It also contextualises the impact the Roman Army of occupation had on the people of the North of England.

Experts believe the sudden appearance of the sophisticated and intimidating Roman Legions throughout Northern England in the winter of 72/73 AD created an enormous culture shock for the indigenous population.

As well as being highly organised soldiers with a fearsome reputation bedecked in military regalia such as the Cosby Garret Helmet, the Romans also introduced money into the local population. As paid professional soldiers they started trading with locals across areas now covering the Wall, which would not be built untill 50 years later.

Designed to stimulate interest in the new Tullie House Roman Frontiers Gallery, which is due to open in July 2011, Hilary Wade, Arts and Museums manager at the Museum says the travelling exhibition will "set the standard" for her museum's new project. It remains to be seen whether the Crosby Garrett Helmet, which is set for auction at Christie's on October 7, will form the centrepiece of the exciting new gallery.

The Eagles Have Landed Exhibition is a collaboration between Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Limited and the British Museum.

Support the campaign to help Tullie House Museum acquire the Crosby Garret Helmet.