Arbeia Roman Fort
South Shields, Durham
|Arbeia is the remains of a large Roman fort in
South Shields. It was first excavated in the 1870s and the buildings you
see today are a reconstruction. It stands overlooking the River Tyne.
"Arbeia" means "fort of the Arab troops",
referring to the fact that part of its garrison at one time was a squadron of
Syrian boatmen from the Tigris. It was common for forts to be manned by
units originally from elsewhere in the empire, though often they would end up
recruiting locally as well. It is believed to have been built around 160 AD and
once guarded the entrance to the River Tyne. Originally built as a garrison it
soon became a supply fort for the 17 forts along Hadrian's Wall containing the
only permanent stone-built granaries found to date in Britain, and was occupied
until the Romans left in the 5th century.
|There are two monuments on site which
commemorate slaves that are believed to have been on site during the Roman
period. The first is for Regina, originally a slave but then became the wife of
Barates, a Syrian merchant - she died at the age of 30. The second is for Victor
who was freed by Numerianus of the First Asturian cavalry and died at the age of
20 - his stone records that he was 'of the Moorish nation'.
The buildings which have been reconstructed on
their original foundations represent a:
Roman Gatehouse - (West Gate) includes
models of the fort and Roman armoury.
R J McNaughton
Commanding Officers House - representing
the 4th century and has been fitted out with authentic furniture and fresco
paintings. The Roman rooms you can enter include a summer dining room, the
Commanding Officers bedroom and the porters lodge.
Barrack block - built using traditional
building techniques of the 3rd century. There are a number of rooms to view and
try to recreate for the visitor what it must have been like for the Roman
soldiers to live there includes such items as beds and equipment they would have
used. Also within this building is details on the methods used to reconstruct
|There is also a museum which holds
artefacts of the Roman period, found on site. There are two displays one showing
The Life of a Roman Soldier and features objects like tools, armour, weapons,
household objects, jewellery, kitchen utensils etc. Whereas the other gallery
looks at how the Romans dealt with Death and Burial, including tombstones and
The Roman Garden shows what herbs and plants
were used by the Romans for cooking, medicine and decoration. It to has a
replica sundial and altar.
There is also a multi-sensory tour and a wet
weather trail should you visit on a wet day. There are also various events and
activities taking place throughout the summer season including a Time Quest,
where for a small fee, £1.50 for adults and £1 for children in 2008, you can
take part in a reconstructed 'Dig' site and have a go at excavating your own
A Roman Ceiling
It is managed by Tyne and Wear Museums.
Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, Tyne &
Arbeia Roman Fort is situated on Baring
Street, in South Shields.
The approach to the main entrance is on a flat
tarmac and concrete surface. There is a gentle slope up to the museum
entrance and then a short steep ramp to the door. Entering the museum
through a set of double glass swing doors. Alternatively there is a path to
the side door of the museum with a flatter ramp. See
for full access details.
Free car park nearby
Gift shop, picnic area, toilets
Things To Do,
See and Photograph:
What to take:
0191 456 1369
1st April-31 Oct Mon-Sat 10am-5.30pm and Sun
1 Nov-31 Mar Mon-Sat 10am-3.30pm and closed
Closed 25 & 26 Dec and 1st Jan
Special Needs Access:
Not fully accessible by wheelchairs,
facilities for deaf and hard of hearing
Special Needs Facilities:
Assistance and Guide dogs only
CIN Page Ref:
Date Updated: 07/2008
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