Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum (Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum
Tyne and Wear
0191 456 1369
0191 427 6862
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.
Museum, Archaeological site
Open until 29 September 2013
Closed 30 September - 31 March: except to pre-arranged school and group visits.
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.
Weapons and War, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archaeology
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.
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.