The cavalry is coming as exhibition celebrates lives of Roman soldiers

Roman Cavalry defended Hadrian's Wall
Roman Cavalry defended Hadrian's Wall

The lives of the Roman Cavalry as they defended South Shields will be the focus of a new exhibition.

Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site is to host a major new exhibition, looking at the cavalry regiments that once guarded the famous North West frontier of the mighty Roman Empire.

This is a once in a lifetime experience, bringing together for the first time these very special Roman cavalry objects.

Bill Griffiths

The event will cover the full 150miles of the wall, from South Shields to Maryport in Cumbria.

Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum on the Lawe Top will be among the 10 locations hosting events and a display through the Hadrian’s Cavalry programme.

It will bring together objects including ornate helmets, armour and weapons on loan from national and international museums.

Contributors include London’s British Museum, National Museums Scotland, the Musee d’Art Classique de Mougins in France, and Germany’s Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Limemuseum, Aalen, the Archaeological State Collection, Munich and the Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.

The new exhibition will also feature one of the largest Roman Cavalry re-enactments ever seen in the UK.

The main funder of the celebration is the Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund.

Bill Griffiths, head of programmes for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and chair of the Hadrian’s Cavalry steering group, said: “This is a once in a lifetime experience, bringing together for the first time these very special Roman cavalry objects.
“To be able to do it across the museums and heritage attractions of Hadrian’s Wall, where cavalry regiments played a key role in protecting the Empire and projecting Imperial power, makes it even more exciting.

“The cavalrymen were famous for their lavishly decorated helmets and body armour.
“The cavalry horses were also held in high esteem; enjoying customised stabling in barrack blocks built to accommodate the riders and their mounts.

“Hadrian’s Cavalry will reveal the story of the Roman riders through a unique exhibition spread across 10 museums and heritage attractions, each with its own special exhibition and objects.

“Never before have people been able to see this collection of Roman cavalry objects in the actual locations they would have been used.”

The exhibition will begin on Saturday, April 8, and run to Sunday, September 10.