New Hadrian's Wall exhibition shows how the Romans built the world famous landmark
1,900 years after work started on the construction of Hadrian's Wall, an exhibition has opened in Wallsend showing just how the Romans did it.
'Building the Wall' at Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum explores is part of the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Festival celebrating the anniversary.
The new display explores how Emperor Hadrian's command to build the wall in AD122 was carried out on the ground and considers the substantial practical and logistical challenges involved.
It also focuses on the revealing evidence from the 80 metre stretch of wall remains at Segedunum.
Nine-year-old Antonette was one of the first visitors to the exhibition today, accompanied by her parents.
"If you want to be an archeologist like I do, it really helps," Antonette said.
Her dad, Gary, meanwhile enjoyed "seeing how it evolved over time, and also the construction of the wall itself and the formats of the forts and the watchtowers."
The exhibition's curator, Alex Croom, said that we are "used to seeing the remains" of the Wall, and that she hopes the displays will help people to "dig down into it a bit more, into how it actually got to be like that. It's much more about the sort of everyday building work that was actually required to create it.”
Emperor Hadrian wanted to build the wall to defend the Roman Empire from the 'barbarians' to the North.
It became a 73 mile barrier stretching from the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west. Segedunum, which means ‘Strong Fort’, was built to guard the eastern end of the Wall. It housed 600 Roman soldiers and stood for almost 300 years.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the museum displays some of the most significant research about the wall.
This new exhibition looks to answer questions such as: where did the Romans get the stone? What tools did they use? How did they transport everything? How did they deal with the rivers and streams that needed to be crossed?
It includes research from the excavation of the section of wall just outside the fort at Wallsend, including how water was supplied to the fort and bath-house, and the original appearance of the fort’s west gate.
It also features 3D animations showing reconstructions of the ruins and demonstrations of how the wall would have been constructed.
Geoff Woodward, Museum Manager for Tyne & Wear Archives Museums’ venues in North and South Tyneside, said: "Segedunum has arguably the most interesting and revealing stretch of Wall remains from anywhere along its length. In the monument’s 1900th year it really is a great place to explore and understand this amazing survivor from ancient history."
Steve Bishop, Head of Cultural Development at North Tyneside Council, said: "This will be a fascinating exhibition that shines a light on the origins of the Wall, and explores the reasons why the wall was deemed necessary by the Romans and how they constructed it. Residents and visitors will find much to enjoy here, as part of the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Festival."
Building the Wall will run until 1 October 2022.