The Glory of Rome: Arbeia's Greatest Treasures

17 Jun - 02 Nov 14

Some of the best Roman finds in Britain have been discovered in and around the North East. For the first time, they will be brought together and displayed over the summer at Arbeia.

The display will include the spectacular Shield Boss which was found near the mouth of the River Tyne in 1866 and dates back to the early 2nd century AD. Other objects that will feature include the Regina tombstone, Victor tombstone, sword hoard, ringmail shirt and a helmet cheekpiece on loan from the Great North Museum: Hancock.

Shield Boss

On loan from the British Museum, the Shield Boss was recovered from the River Tyne, belonging to a legionary soldier called Junius Dubitatus. It would protect the hand of the soldier holding the shield. There would've been some 1.5 million shield-bosses made for legionary soldiers of the Roman Empire of which very few surivived. This Shield Boss is considered to be one of the very best.

Regina and Victor tombstones

Reknowned for being two of the best Romano-British tombstones in the country. One commemorates a woman from from south-east England married to a man from Syria, the other a man from North Africa who was the freed slave of a soldier from Spain, demonstrating the cosmopolitan nature of the port in Roman times. The Regina also has an inscription in Aramaic, unique in this country.

Ringmail Suit

This is the best preserved, most complete Romano-British ringmail suit in the country. This is the type of armour worn by auxiliary soldiers. The stunning preservation of this example is due to it being lost in a great fire that burnt down the barrack it was stored in.

Pattern-wielded sword

A very rare example of a Roman sword with a double herringbone pattern built into the blade, which features brass figures of Mars, standards and an Imperial Eagle. This had been deliberately buired along with some other swords and a decorated belt under the fort wall.