CENTRAL NEWCASTLE AND GATESHEAD

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LOCATION: 
CENTRAL NEWCASTLE AND GATESHEAD
PROJECT TITLE: 
FINDING THE WALL IN THE CITY CENTRE
ACTIVITIES: 
Survey and desk-based research
TARGETS: 
To trace the line of the Wall through the City Centre and find the site of the Roman bridge across the Tyne
ABOUT THE PROJECT: 

A quest for the location of the Roman bridge across the Tyne that gave Newcastle its Roman name (Pons Aelius)

This project has been chosen to address the problem of locating Hadrian’s Wall in the area where it is most poorly understood and hardly known to those who live and work in Newcastle and Gateshead. The exact course of Hadrian’s Wall as it approaches its original eastern terminus in the Castle Garth/Sandhill area of Newcastle (the stretch to Wallsend was a slightly later extension) is unknown. The Roman fort under the Norman Castle has been partly excavated. An inscription dredged from the site of the swing bridge in 1903 records detachments of three Roman legions (pictured), but the exact location of the Roman bridge across the Tyne that gave Newcastle its Roman name (Pons Aelius) is not known for certain. In 1994 a Roman settlement and road were discovered at the Hilton Hotel site on the Gateshead side of the river which may point to the direction of the Roman bridge.

Activities carried out by volunteers so far include:

Search for the Roman Bridge
A search for all of the various souvenirs, pieces of furniture etc. made from ancient wood recovered from the bed of the river Tyne when the Swing bridge was being built in the 1870s, and supposed to come from the piles of the Roman bridge at Newcastle. These objects now exist in various paces and collections, and WallQuest volunteers have tried to make a complete catalogue. Recent research has cast doubt on whether the timber recovered was really Roman in date: the project is hoping to find a piece suitable for radiocarbon dating.

If you know of the whereabouts of any other items made from ‘the Roman Bridge’. Please let us know!

An urban walking trail for Hadrian’s Wall
WallQuest volunteers have been researching the line of the Wall through central Newcastle and pioneering a walking trail that will follow the actual line of the Wall (the present National Trail) follows the Tyne and diverges from the line of Hadrian’s Wall in the urban areas. There are still areas of central Newcastle where the whereabouts of the Wall is unknown, but the aim of the project is to connect up the known sections and to allow visitors to follow the most probable line. Volunteers have been gathering information and illustrations for guide leaflets, booklets, maps, signs and apps that will help raise the profile of Hadrian’s Wall as it traverses the City centre.