Museums and Collections
The portable finds from Hadrian's Wall and its associated sites have been collected by antiquarians, from archaeological excavations and from stray finds over several centuries. Although, being portable and removed from their context, they cannot be formally included in the World Heritage Site, they form a huge body of evidence that relates to the Site, without which understanding of the structural remains of the Site would be very limited. They include inscribed stones such as building dedications, altars to Roman and native deities, "centurial stones" which record the names of the centurions in charge of units engaged in the construction of the Wall and gravestones. The latter inform us of those who lived and died on the frontier, their origins, ages and relatives.
Carvings on gravestones often include a formalised image of the deceased, as well as furniture of the period such as chairs and tables and carts.
Pottery consists of tableware, including samian ware imported from Gaul, and beakers, cooking vessels and storage vessels. Pottery can reveal both the diet of those living on the frontier, as well as trading patterns deduced from the origins of pottery vessels, both within Britain and from the continent.
Coins are one of the securest dating tools. Metalwork includes both military weapons and equipment and a huge range of domestic objects in gold, silver, bronze, iron and lead, from cart fittings to tweezers, from window frames to brooches and earrings and other items of personal adornment.
Glass vessels and window glass were used by the Romans on Hadrian's Wall. The Wall collection also includes items in organic materials, such as wood, leather, bone and cloth. The soil conditions at particularly Roman Vindolanda and in Carlisle allow preservation of finds in organic materials which do not survive at other sites. Notable is the large collection of writing tablets from Roman Vindolanda that provide an unparalleled insight into daily life on the frontier.
The collections from Hadrian's Wall are mostly contained within 9 museums on or close to the Wall. The museum at Chesters Roman Fort holds the personal collection from a number of sites on Hadrian's Wall that belonged to John Clayton in a purpose built museum, that reflects the pioneering work of he 19th century antiquarians.
The Senhouse Roman Museum at Maryport contains finds from the fort at Maryport, including a unique series of altars dedicated to Jupiter found in the 19th century. Housesteads Roman Fort, Corbridge Roman Town, Roman Vindolanda, Segedunum Fort, Baths & Museum and Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum all house finds from those sites. The Roman Army Museum at Carvoran and the interpretation centre at Birdoswald also house some original finds.