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Historic England Research Records

Rudchester Mithraeum

Hob Uid: 1012724
Location :
Northumberland
Northumberland
Heddon-On-The-Wall
Grid Ref : NZ1106067450
Summary : The site of a Mithraeum, excavated in 1953 at Rudchester. It was built in the early third century AD over an earlier, unidentified stone structure apparently of Antonine date. Rebuilding took place towards the end of the century, and the new temple, identical in plan with the first except for the narthex, incorporated two centurial stones from the Vallum, one inscribed 7 iv.v. It was short-lived, and was probably finally desecrated early in the 4th century. The mithraeum has been partly overlain and protected by a positive lynchet/fieldbank. The 1953 excavation trench can be identified on the ground by slight scarps, vegetation-marks and the local modification of the lynchet. The north and east parts of the mithraeum were well preserved but the south and west were largely destroyed. A suggested alternative reconstruction of the south-west corner, giving the building a symmetrical west end, was published following field survey.
More information : (Previously recorded by the Ordnance Survey as NZ 16 NW 11.2 and NZ 16 NW 38)

(NZ 1106 6745) MITHRAEUM [G.S.C.] (Site of) [T.I.] (1)

The mithraeum is situated at the junction of two former hedges, one running from Rudchester farmyard to a point on the March Burn 180yds south of the road; and the other from the south end of the present western plantation past a spring. The line of the former can still be determined partly as a bank, and partly as a demarcation between
ridge-and-furrow ploughing. Excavation between May and August 1953 showed the mithraeum to consist of two building phases. The first, orientated NW-SE, had an overall length of 60ft, with a segmental apse at the west end, and narthex at the entrance. It was built in the early third century over an earlier, unidentified stone structure apparently of Antonine date. Rebuilding took place towards the end of the century, and the new temple, identical in plan with the first except for the narthex, incorporated two centurial stones from the Vallum, one inscribed 7 iv.v. It was short-lived, and was probably finally desecrated early in the 4th century. Four altars were recovered during the excavation additional to five found in the vicinity in August 1844. Only four of the total are inscribed (2a). There are no surface remains. The site falls in a pasture field between two areas of ridge-and-furrow ploughing. Finds are now in the Newcastle Museum of Antiquities. (2)

The mithraeum has been partly overlain and protected by a positive lynchet/fieldbank. The 1953 excavation trench can be identified on the ground by slight scarps, vegetation-marks and the local modification of the lynchet. The N and E parts of the mithraeum were well preserved but the S and W were largely destroyed. A suggested alternative reconstruction of the SW corner, giving the building a symmetrical W end, was published following field survey. (3-4)

Scheduled (5)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500 1961
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RWE 03-MAR-1966
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Source Number : 2a
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Gillam J and Macivor I 'The temple of Mithras at Rudchesters'
Page(s) : 172-219
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 32, 1954
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Mark Bowden and Keith Blood/18-OCT-1990/RCHME: Rudchester Survey.
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Roman fort at Rudchester : an analytical field survey
Source details :
Page(s) : 25-31
Figs. : 2
Plates :
Vol(s) : 19
Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Jul-97
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Source Number : 6
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 332
Monument Start Date : 200
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 : NZ 1167/13
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26039
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 28(3)
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 16 NW 94
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 580733
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 22801
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1012722
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : RUDCHESTER MITHRAEUM
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1953-01-01
End Date : 1953-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: HADRIAN'S WALL PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1993-08-01
Associated Activities : RCHME: RUDCHESTER SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1990-10-04
End Date : 1990-10-18