Baring Street,South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE33 2BB
Arbeia was a large Roman fort in South Shields, now ruined, and which has been partially reconstructed. It was first excavated in the 1870s and all modern buildings on the site were cleared in the 1970s. It is managed by Tyne and Wear Museums as Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum

The fort stands on the Lawe Top, overlooking the mouth of the River Tyne. Founded in about AD 160, the Roman Fort guarded the main sea route to Hadrian's Wall. It later became the maritime supply fort for Hadrian's Wall, and contains the only permanent stone-built granaries yet found in Britain.

It was occupied until the Romans left Britain in the 5th century. "Arbeia" means the "fort of the Arab troops" referring to the fact that part of its garrison at one time was a squadron of Mesopotamian boatmen from the Tigris, following Emperor Septimius Severus securing the city of Singara in 197.

Intriguingly, the Arabs at Arbeia came from the far eastern reaches of the Roman Empire and found themselves working in the far north-western corner of that same Empire, so their skills must have been in high demand. One of their number is known to have married a British woman called Regina, whose tombstone can be seen in the Arbeia museum.

She was not local to the area but belonged to the Catevellauni tribe who lived north of London. Regina’s husband was called Barates whose home town was Palmyra in what is now Syria. She had formerly been his slave.

Next to the tombstone of Regina in the museum is another commemorating the life of Victor, a Moor from North Africa, who like Regina, had formerly been a slave. It is thought Victor, who was 20 years old when he died, was passing through Arbeia on his way to join his compatriots at Benwell. The design of the two tombstones suggests they were both sculptured by Syrian craftsmen.

From archaeological evidence, such as the gravestone of Victor, described below, it is known that a squadron of Spanish cavalry, the First Asturian, was stationed there. It was common for forts to be manned by units originally from elsewhere in the empire, though often enough these would assimilate and end up by recruiting locally.

Through the course of history of Arbeia, the fort has had several guises, from a busy cosmopolitan port to being the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus's HQ for a Scottish invasion. It was a huge supply base for the Roman army, having hosted 600 Roman troops, and is said to be the birthplace of the Northumbrian King Oswin.

There is also a museum on site which holds artefacts of the Roman period.

Opening details:

Seasonal. Check website for details:

Price range: Free   Parking: None

The fort has an impressive full-scale reconstruction of a Roman gatehouse.
Extensive remains of the fort’s foundations.
A significant collection of finds and artefacts, including a rare Roman soldier’s chain mail armour.
Reconstructions of a Roman soldiers’ barrack block and Commanding Officer’s house.
View regular ongoing excavation work.

Access Information: Wheelchair access, seating around museum, large print & braille visitor guides available, wheelchair hire (subject to availability), disabled toilet.
Slide show - 27 photographs taken at Arbeia Roman Fort
Getting To Arbeia
From wikipeadia and Destimap.