Newcastle (Ponte Aeli)

Picture of Newcastle Castle

Great North Museum

Run by: Tyne and Wear museums

Opening: Open: Monday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 11am-4pm
Closed: 25 & 26 December & 1 January.
Admission is free

Public Transport: Haymarket Metro is less than 5 minutes walk from the museum.

Directions: The museum is on the Univerity of Newcastle site at Barras Bridge opposite the civic centre. The Museum can be found just off the Great North Road (B1318).

One place that you shouldn't miss in Newcastle is the very popular Great North Museum that has recently opened. This holds collections from the Hancock Museum and Newcastle University's Museum of Antiquities, the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery; and is the main archaeology museum in the North East. It has very large Roman exhibitions focusing on the wall.

A couple of the many highlights are a large scale interactive model of the Wall (many metres long) and audio visual display including one of the Mithrauem.
As well as this it has great displays on animals, dinosaurs (including a T Rex skeleton) and the Egyptians.

Newcastle Castle

Grid Reference: NZ248639.

Run by: Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Opening: Open 10am Monday to Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday. Last admission 4:15pm, Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Public Transport: Central station is 10 minutes walk from the site.

Directions: Next to the High level Bridge. If you are walking along the quayside then head up Castle stairs (near to the Swing Bridge)

The Roman fort of Ponte Aeli was built on a steep promontory overlooking the river Tyne. Newcastle castle was built on the same site. The fort stood guarding the bridge over the Tyne, which probably crossed the river where the Swing bridge now stands.

The fort was not built at the same time as the rest of the Wall, but was a later addition . In the third century it was garrisoned by the I Ulpia Traiana Cugernorum civium Romanorum, which was a cohors quigenaria raised initially in North Germany. In the fourth century the garison was I Cornoviorum which came from the Welsh Marches, its the only unit raised in Britain that is known to have served on the Wall

Benwell (Condercum)

Grid Reference: NZ215648.

Directions: The site is just of the Westgate Road (which follows the line of the wall), two or three miles west of the centre of Newcastle.

The temple is on Broomridge avenue (Turn off the Westgate road onto Weidner road, then immediately turn right).

The Hadrians wall footpath does not go past here, as it follows the much more scenic (and interesting) route along the Tyne, before rejoining the wall at Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Very little remains of the Roman fort of Condercum although it would have been one of the largest forts of the wall. You can, however see the foundations of a small temple dedicated to Antenociticus. The two alters that were found here are now in the museum in Newcastle, the ones seen at the temple are reproductions.

Benwell is thought to have been garrisoned by one of only three all cavalry units on the wall (the others were at Chesters and Stanwix). The fort itself was built by the II Aug legion, but the granaries were constructed by units from the British fleet. They are thought to have been drafted in to help speed up construction. The similarities between the granaries here and those at Halton Chester and Rudchester makes it likely that units of the fleet built these as well.

Further west along the Westgate road there are further small fragments of the wall and a turret at East Denton and a few yards of wall on the south side of the A69 just after the junction with the A1. The next major stretch of wall is at Heddon-on-the-wall.