Today we made a visit to the Roman army fort at South Shields, where there is a museum and partial reconstructions of the Roman military fortifications which would have been part of a series of forts, milecastles and turrets along Hadrian’s Wall. On this trip I made a presentation to the group on Roman military gates and defenses. This was a perfect location to discuss Roman gates along Hadrian’s Wall, as there is an excellent west gate reconstruction, which was built in 1986.
Gateways were used to control trade and people on the frontier. The gateways were aligned with roads within the fort. The main gate was known as the porta praetoria which led to the the headquarters within the fort.
Sarah also presented on the commanding officer’s headquarters. There was a reconstructed headquarters as well, which was a great treat.
These pictures show the grandeur the officer’s would have lived in, even while away from Rome. Many of the rooms within the headquarters are much like what the Roman elite would have been accustomed to back home, complete with an atrium and triclinium (or dining room). It wasn’t all seriousness though! We had a great time in the triclinium, where we reclined in the typical posture for dining.
In the museum we also saw a famous inscription called the Funerary Inscription for Regina (RIB 1065). This depicts a freed slave woman from Roman Britain who married a Roman from around the area of the present day Syria. This is supported by the text, which is written in both Latin and in the native text of the Roman Soldier, as well as through various symbols within the image itself.
All in all, it was a very informative day. Which ended with a sleepy bus ride home! The adventure continues tomorrow with our first big hike!