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Segedunum Roman Fort to host big Roman exhibition

The biggest touring exhibition of Roman artefacts from the British Museum is to run through the summer at Segedunum

Trustees of the British Museum Marble head from the statue of Emperor Commodus 185 190 (circa)
Marble head from the statue of Emperor Commodus 185 190 (circa)

Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend is to host the biggest ever exhibition in this country of Roman artefacts from the British Museum.

Roman Empire: Power & People will bring together more than 160 items from the British Museum collection to shed light on one of the most powerful empires the world has ever seen.

Highlights will include sculpture from the villas of the emperors Tiberius and Hadrian, coins from the famous Hoxne hoard (which was uncovered in the Suffolk village by a metal detectorist in 1992), eye-catching jewellery and even items of children’s clothing, in a near-perfect state of preservation, from Roman Egypt.

In one of the country’s most famous sites, at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall, the wealth, power and organisation of the Roman Empire will be explored. Visitors will gain an insight into how the Romans viewed their provinces and other peoples.

On show will be religious, military and personal objects that once belonged to people living across the Empire, from northern Britain to Egypt and the Middle East.

The Trustees of the British Museum Mummy portrait of a woman, Roman period AD 55-70
Mummy portrait of a woman, Roman period AD 55-70

They will show how many disparate influences were absorbed into the empire and adapted to serve its purposes.

Iain Watson, director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, is one of those looking forward to this “world-class” exhibition.

He said: “Hosting the largest British Museum touring exhibition about the Roman Empire at what was once the edge of the Roman frontier is particularly special for us in the North East.”

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said: “Following the huge success of the British Museum’s major exhibition, Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, it is clear that the Roman world continues to fascinate and surprise us.”

The exhibition, supported by the Dorest Foundation and co-curated by Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives and the British Museum, has been organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK scheme.

It comes to Wallsend at the end of a tour which began in Bristol and will be accompanied by a new British Museum publication.

The exhibition runs at Segedunum from May 30 to September 13.


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