Arbeia  Roman Fort

Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields

This evening, I am indulging in one of my key passions, namely the Roman period with specific focus on the fort at South Shields in N.E.England known as Arbeia.

This partly reconstructed fort is located at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall overlooking the moth of the River Tyne. Key facts:

  • Probably built around AD 161-180 to replace an earlier fort in the vicinity.
  • Site extended from 1.7 to 2.1 hectares after AD200. Rationale was to extend capacity as a supply base in support of strategy to conquer northern Britain.
  • The site was extended to include 22 granaries, to hold vital food supplies for the troops.
  • After abandonment of the northern campaign Arbeia acted as a supply base for Hadrian’s Wall, no doubt aided by its strategic location with access to the sea.
  • Around AD300 the site suffered a disastrous fire. Final HQ building was a re-build following the fire.

This site sits somewhat incongruously surrounded by residential housing. The site is run by Tyne and Wear Museums and includes an on-site museum. There are replica barracks, Courtyard House and Entrance Gate which, combined with the extensive visible archaeology, enable visitors to connect with the Roman period in a tangible way.

Courtyard House, Arbeia

Courtyard House, Arbeia Roman Fort


Barrack Block and Courtyard House, Arbeia

Barrack Block and Courtyard House, Arbeia


Archaeology at Arbeia

Archaeology at Arbeia Roman Fort

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