Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum - Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum - Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum
Baring Street
South Shields
Tyne and Wear
NE33 2BB




0191 456 1369


0191 427 6862

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
An imposing fort made of yellow stone with two turrets and two gateways
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Four miles east of the end of Hadrian's Wall at South Shields, Arbeia Roman Fort played an essential role in the mighty frontier system. Originally built to house a garrison, Arbeia soon became the military supply base for the 17 forts along the Wall.

The excavated remains, stunning reconstructions of original buildings and finds discovered at the site combine to give a unique insight into life in Roman Britain.

Please note the Fort is closed for the Winter from 1 October - 31 March 2013.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archaeological site

Opening hours

Closed 30 September 2013 - 31 March 2014: except to pre-arranged school and group visits.
From 1 April 2014:
Mon-Fri 10-5
Sat 11-4
Sun 2-5

Admission charges

Free entry

The Roman excavations at Arbeia have their origins in the 1870s. The finds recovered by the Victorian excavators form the nucleus of the present collection which is one of the largest and most important from Hadrian's Wall. The collection includes coins, engraved gem stones, jet ornaments, seal boxes, imperial sealings, military equipment, including a hoard of swords, brooches, pins and ear-rings. There is also a large collection of pottery ranging from cooking wares to highly decorated tablewares. A rich collection of inscribed stones, altars and graffiti refers to individual people and places as diverse as France, Spain, Iraq and Syria as well as Southern Britain. At Arbeia, modern excavations of the interior of the Fort have taken place but considerable research has also been undertaken in the civilian settlement ('vicus'). This has given us a broad and balanced picture of life at Arbeia during the Roman occupation of the site. Some of the most impressive finds include: Complete Ringmail Suit: This is the best preserved ringmail suit in the country, recovered from a barrack building destroyed in a large fire. Those with sharp eyesight will not only see the individual 7mm links, but also the small 1mm rivets closing the links! Regina tombstone: This shows Regina sitting in a wicker chair with her jewellery box and basket of wool beside her. Regina came from southern Britain and was the slave, and later wife, of Barates from Syria. Victor Tombstone: This shows Victor reclining on a highly decorated couch being served a drink by a slave. Victor came from North Africa and was the slave of a soldier from Spain. Lead Sealings: The Fort has one of the largest collections of lead seals in the country. Some of them show the heads of the Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons, who almost certainly visited Arbeia when they came to Britain. The sealings were used on official military supplies, perhaps in a similar way to modern customs sealings. Jet Objects: Arbeia has one of the finest collections of Roman jet in the country. The collection includes finger rings, bracelets, beads, an animal head and spindlewhorls.

Collection details

Weapons and War, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archaeology

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Arbeia Roman Fort Site Guide

This pack has been designed to enhance your visit to Arbeia Roman Fort. It contains a tour of the site for adult helpers and activity sheets for your pupils to use on the site, in the Museum galleries and back in the classroom. At the back of the pack you will also find access information and a hazard identification chart to help you write your risk assessment. All of the information in this pack is fully photocopiable.

How to obtain

If you have any queries or comments, please do not hestitate to contact the Learning Officer on (0191) 454 4093.

Arbeia Roman Fort - TimeQuest Guide

Visiting TimeQuest, you will discover how archaeologists unearth the secrets of the past. You will dig for objects, handle real finds, record your discoveries and learn more about the everyday lives of the people who lived here almost two thousand years ago. This guide explains the activities in TimeQuest so that teachers and adult helpers are familiar with the facilities before visiting. Although the TimeQuest interpreters will run the session, it is always useful for everyone to be prepared to answer children’s questions. We have suggested questions for many of the activities; these are marked with a * symbol.