Roman heritage

*A Roman Fort with turf ramparts and internal buildings of timber may have been built on the Lawe Top at South Shields as early as the end of the first century AD.

The present day remains of the Roman Fort of Arbeia belong to a fort of four acres with internal buildings of stone dating from the middle of the second century AD.

In AD 208 the fort was enlarged and 22 stone granaries were built to hold supplies for the Roman legions campaigning in Scotland. The supply base was in use for only a few years and the interior of the fort was re-modelled to hold a normal garrison - the fifth Cohort of Gauls.

Occupation continued until the end of the Roman period and perhaps as late as the fifth century AD. Little more was known until 1875 when extensive renovations were started. Later excavations from 1949 onwards have gradually increased knowledge of the history of the fort.

Today, Arbeia is part of Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site and offers excavated remains and stunning reconstructions of the fort's original buildings. The site is dominated by the reconstructed West Gate which is built in the site's initial foundations using similar construction techniques and materials to the original.

This significant archaeological site is one of the few places in the country where you can see re-built Roman buildings, including the Commander's Villa and Barrack Block. The museum houses finds made since the 17th century, including tombstones, weapons, military fittings, coins, glass and pottery.