South Shields, England — Two millennia ago, the Roman Empire stretched all the way to northern England, which the Romans considered the very edge of civilization—and perhaps the world. Arbeia, the Roman fort overlooking the river and harbour from Lawe Top, became part of one of the largest and busiest supply depots in the northern Roman Empire, as it was less than four miles from Hadrian’s Wall, which the Empire built to mark its northern boundary and protect its settlements from the region’s native inhabitants such as the Brigantes and Picts. How did these cultures adapt to each other and coexist? The answers have intriguing parallels throughout world history and may hold important lessons for today’s cultures in contact—and sometimes conflict—with each other. You can help a seasoned team of archaeologists, led by Paul Bidwell, Dr Nick Hodgson and Alex Croom (all with the Tyne and Wear Museums), excavate Arbeia and its environs to better understand how ancient Romans and Europeans came into contact with each other—and were forever changed by the experience.
Meet the Scientists
Tyne and Wear Museums
Paul Bidwell, M.A., L.L.B., F.S.A., is the Head of Archaeology at Tyne and Wear Museums. He has excavated widely, with a record of publication of major reports rivaled by few of his generation. He is perhaps best known in the UK for discovering and excavating the great baths in the fortress of the Second Legion in the city of Exeter, in Southwest England, in the early 1970s; for his work on Roman pottery; and for his many excavations on Hadrian’s Wall. Paul will be in and out of the field with volunteers but he will give a presentation during each expedition and all volunteers will have an opportunity to talk with him about the research.
Dr. Nick Hodgson
Tyne and Wear Museums
Dr. Nick Hodgson, M.A., Ph.D., F.S.A., is the Principal Keeper of Archaeology at Tyne and Wear Museums. He has excavated many sites on the northern frontier in Britain, and has published numerous excavation reports and articles about Roman Britain and the Roman frontiers. He has led Earthwatch teams for more than 15 years.
Alex Croom, B.A., is a specialist in Roman period finds and has published widely on aspects of archaeological finds, especially in the area of Roman pottery, finds, and costume, and manages post-excavation research and artefact study projects, including large scale research projects such as the Hadrian’s Wall ceramic database. Alex holds a BA (hons) in Archaeology from Newcastle University.