Gladiators invade South Shields at the Arbeia Roman Festival

South Shields was taken over by gladiators and historical characters as visitors flocked to the annual South Tyneside Roman Festival.

Sunday, 4th August 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 12:13 pm
James Humes demonstrates some battle techniques.

The festival, on Saturday August 3, was at Baring Street, and saw people taking part in training exercises and fights in an arena. While poetry sessions, archery classes and jewellery workshops took place around the rest of the grounds of the South Shields Roman fort.

In 1986, the reconstruction of the West Gate was begun to give visitors an impression of the size and scale of Roman military architecture. In 2002 two further reconstructions were opened to show the very different living conditions of a normal soldier, a Centurion and a Commanding Officer.
Based four miles east of the end of Hadrian's Wall at South Shields, the fort was originally built to house a garrison and soon became the military supply base for the 17 forts along the Wall.

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The Arbeia Roman Festival included combat demonstrations from trained professionals. Arbeia once guarded the sea port and was the supply base for troops on Hadrian’s Wall
Mr Freak and the three shell game at the Arbeia Roman Festival.
Built around AD160, Arbeia, South Shields’ Roman Fort once guarded the entrance to the River Tyne, playing an essential role in the mighty frontier system.
The children were kitted up for battle as James Hobb shows off the gladiator's variety of equipment.
Taking the burrs off a sword are Dylan Tams and Dean Paxton, showing the importance of weapon maintenance.
Making thumb pots and talismans from clay are Michelle Jones, Kai Mya (6) and Jayden Burdis (6).
A demonstration of Egyptian belly dancing by Alison Lewis.
An archery lesson with Peter Haswell and Kai Mya (6).
Roman gladiators fought in the arena to see who would be victorious.