The reconstructed Roman Barracks show how the soldiers lived at the time when the fort was in use. The first room you come to shows how the barracks are actually built, daub and wattle on a wicker frame.
The rest of the rooms show the soldiers home life.
The commanding officers house is really well done.
Many of the local schools have day trips to the fort, and whilst I was there a group were in getting some bootcamp training for legionnaires.
The kids loved it. This week the Fort has been awarded £150,000 funding boost for a re-development scheme, so I’ll be going back to see how it develops. I didn’t take any photo’s in the museum part, which has lots of excavated roman finds in it, because the lighting is atrocious (it has to be to keep the artefacts safe), but it’s well worth a visit.
The ancient Romans certainly left their mark across the world. Hadrian’s Wall was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in 122 AD in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, immediately north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britains.
The Roman fort at Arbeia once guarded the entrance to the river Tyne and served as a supply centre, receiving goods from across the North Sea and along the east coast to supply the thousands of Roman troops stationed along Hadrian’s Wall. The foundations of granaries, barracks and the headquarters building can be clearly made out and the site museum houses a fine collection of objects found during the on-going programme of excavations at the site. Part of the garrison at one time was a squadron of specialist boatmen from the banks of the river Tigris in what is now Iraq. A squadron of Spanish cavalry was also stationed here. Finds from the site illustrate the cosmopolitan nature of its changing population. Arbeia Roman Fort has stunning full-scale reconstructions of original buildings including the commander’s house, a barrack block and a gatehouse providing a unique and inspiring insight into Roman military life.
And I live 20 minutes away from it, so back in May on a sunny day, went to visit.
Situated in Baring Street, South Shields, the modern town has grown around the ancient fort.
The view of the fort layout from the top of the gatehouse. The white buildings just right of centre are the reconstructed barracks, which we’ll look at in part 2.
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