New exhibition looks at legacy of Roman Empire’s cavalry

Roman Cavalry re-enactor Arran Johnston checks out the Hadrians Cavalry exhibition at Segedunum. Picture by Craig Connor/North News & Pictures.
Roman Cavalry re-enactor Arran Johnston checks out the Hadrians Cavalry exhibition at Segedunum. Picture by Craig Connor/North News & Pictures.

A new exhibition looking at a key part of Roman history in the North East has gone on display.

Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site is hosting the major event for six months this year.

Bill Griffiths, head of programmes for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and chair of the Hadrians Cavalry shows Mary Glindon MP the new Hadrians Cavalry exhibition at Segendunum Roman Fort. Picture by Craig Connor/North News & Pictures

Bill Griffiths, head of programmes for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and chair of the Hadrians Cavalry shows Mary Glindon MP the new Hadrians Cavalry exhibition at Segendunum Roman Fort. Picture by Craig Connor/North News & Pictures

It will celebrate the cavalry regiments that once guarded the famous North West 150-mile frontier of the Roman Empire, which stretched from the west coast to the east coast.

Hadrian’s Cavalry will run until September 10, across 10 sites in the North, including Wallsend’s Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum and the Hancock Museum in Newcastle.

The exhibition explores the role and daily life of the Roman army’s cavalry forces in a unique wall-wide exhibition that stretches the full 150 miles of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site area – from Maryport in the west to South Shields in the east.

Visitors will be able to admire a unique range of remarkable and finely decorated Roman cavalry objects including ornate helmets, armour and weapons on loan from national and international museums, which will be shown alongside objects from museums across the Wall.

Dramatic re-enactment events at attractions across Wall will also form part of the exhibition.

And from July, a specially commissioned piece of contemporary art celebrating the cavalry site will be on display at English Heritage’s Chesters Roman Fort and Museum.

To mark the launch of the new exhibition, Bill Griffiths, head of programmes for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and chair of the Hadrian’s Cavalry steering group, joined a Roman Cavalry re-enactor to travel the length of Hadrian’s Wall, arriving at Segedunum last Friday – the day before the exhibition opened.

For more on the exhibition – which has been mainly funded by the Arts Council England’s Museum Fund – visit www.hadrianscavalry.co.uk