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Historic England Research Records

Housesteads Mithraeum

Hob Uid: 1012543
Location :
Northumberland
Northumberland
Bardon Mill
Grid Ref : NY7905068460
Summary : The mithraeum was excavated in 1898; it consisted of a rectangular room flanked with benches, at the end was a sanctuary which contained a relief of Mithras surrounded by the zodiac. It survives as a circular platform, about 11 metres across, set into a southeast-facing slope to a maximum depth of 1.1 metres. None of the stonework is visible. Lying on the ground surface in the centre is what appears to be a section of stone water channel, and about 5 metres to the east is a silted spring containing some stone, but no apparent walling in situ, into which is inserted a modern porcelain basin for cattle. The remains of the temple were surveyed by RCHME Newcastle at 1:1000 as a part of the Housesteads Survey.
More information : (Previously recorded by the Ordnance Survey as NY 76 NE 14.1)

Seven or eight temples, and at least three shrines are attested at Housesteads by altars. Five or six of the temples are on or near Chapel Hill (NY 791 685), including the Mithraeum (at NY 7905 6846). (1)

In 1822, workmen struck the top of an altar; a partial excavation of that year showed it to be standing in its original position at the W end of a rectangular building. (2)

The building was fully excavated in 1898, and identified as a temple dedicated to the Persian god Mithras. (3)

Full description of altars and inscriptions. (4)

A wooden post set in a shallow depression marks the site of the Mithraeum. (5)

The Mithraeum survives as a circular platform, about 11m across, set into a SE-facing slope to a maximum depth of 1.1m. None of the stonework is visible. Lying on the ground surface in the centre is what appears to be a section of stone water channel, and about 5m to the E is a silted spring containing some stone, but no apparent walling in situ, into which is inserted a modern porcelain basin for cattle. The remains of the temple were surveyed by RCHME Newcastle at 1:1000 as a part of the Housesteads Survey. (6)

A elongated circular depression is visible on air photographs at NY 7905 6846, and presumably represents the site of the Mithraeum. (9)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Birley E and Keeney GS, Fourth Report on Excavations at Housesteads
Page(s) : 230-4
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Vol(s) : 12, 1935
Source Number : 2
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Hodgson J Observations on the Roman Station of Housesteads, and on some Mithraic Antiquities discovered there..,
Page(s) : 263-320
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Vol(s) : 1, 1822
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs/ink survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs/pencil survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, sheet 1/ink survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, interim sheet/pencil survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs/pencil survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, sheet 6/pencil survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, sheet 3/pencil survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, sheet 4/ink survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, sheet 5/ink survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs/Ink survey
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Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Bosanquet RC Excavations on the line of the Roman Wall in Northumberland: The Roman Camp at Housesteads
Page(s) : 193-299
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Vol(s) : 25, 1904
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, fort/ink survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs/ink survey
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Source : Housesteads Fort and Environs, sheet 2/ink survey
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Roman inscriptions of Britain, 1. Inscriptions on stone
Source details :
Page(s) : 501-18
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 EC Waight 05-DEC-1966
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Keith Blood/11-NOV-1985/RCHME: Housesteads Survey
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Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Jul-97
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Source Number : 8
Source : National Trust Archaeological Survey. Housesteads Roman fort and its environs : survey and analysis of the archaeological deposits
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Page(s) : 54
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Source Number : 9
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NY 7968/144 (19857/35) 04-MAY-2000
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Source Number : 10
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Mithraeum
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Hadrian's Wall Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 7968/14
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 28
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26059
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northumberland)
External Cross Reference Number : 6668
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 76 NE 196
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 15175
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : HOUSESTEADS, (VERCOVICIUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1822-01-01
End Date : 1822-12-31
Associated Activities : HOUSESTEADS (VERCOVICIUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1898-01-01
End Date : 1898-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: HOUSESTEADS SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1985-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: HADRIAN'S WALL PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1993-08-01
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: HADRIAN'S WALL WHS MAPPING PROJECT, NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31