Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, England

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 AD 200. 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 AD 300 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.

Video clip of the Arbeia site.

Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, England

Arbeia reconstruction

Arbeia reconstruction

Arbeia reconstruction

Arbeia reconstruction..

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