Arbeia, South Shields' Roman Fort has stunning full-scale reconstructions of original buildings including the commander’s house, a barrack block and a West Gate providing a unique and inspiring insight into Roman military life. 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. Regina was a British woman from Kent who was first a slave then a freedwoman and wife of Barates, a merchant from Palmyra in modern Syria. Victor was also a former slave, this time a north African, freed by Numerianus, a trooper in a regiment of Spanish cavalry.
Free roadside parking is available. The site is managed by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums on behalf of South Tyneside Council.
Seasonal. Check website for details: https://arbeiaromanfort.org.uk/
Arbeia Roman Fort is a ten minute walk from South Shields Metro and Bus Station. The Fort is signposted from Ocean Road.