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Historic England Research Records

Temple Of Mithras

Hob Uid: 1013363
Location :
Northumberland
Northumberland
Newbrough
Grid Ref : NY8587471059
Summary : The Temple of Mithras (also referred to as the Mithraeum), near Carrawburgh fort along Hadrian's Wall, was founded in the 3rd century, and eventually desecrated, probably by Christians. An excavation at the site in 1950 revealed three building phases. The earliest, dating from around AD 200 measured 5.6 metres by 7.9 metres externally; the second phase started circa AD 222 constituted a north extension, and underwent two internal refits before its destruction in AD 297. Finally it was totally reconstructed at the turn of the 3rd-4th century, and survived until circa AD 330 when it was desecrated. In 1957, a large inscribed altar to the Nymphs and Genius Loci was found standing upright a few yards south of the doorway into the Mithraeum; this was excavated in 1960, and found to be associated with a well, a paved area, and an apsidal structure. Its exact date of construction is unknown, but by the beginning of the 4th century it was in decay. The Mithraeum has been consolidated and partly reconstructed in its 4th century form; it is under guardianship and open to the public. Of the remains south of the doorway, nothing is visible on the surface except for the top of the north slab of the well-head.
More information : (Previously recorded by the Ordnance Survey as NY 87 SE 10.3 and 10.7)

NY 8587 7106. Excavation in 1950 showed three building phases. The earliest, dating from the third quarter of the 3rd C measured 5.6m by 7.9m externally; the secomd phase started c. AD 222 constituted a N extension, and underwent two internal refits before its destruction in AD 297. Finally it was totally reconstructed at the turn of the 3rd-4th C, and survived until c. AD 330 when it was desecrated. (1)

In 1957 a large inscribed altar to the Nymphs and Genius Loci was found standing upright a few yards S of the doorway into the Mithraeum; this was excavated in 1960, and found to be associated with a well, a paved area, and an apsidal structure. Its exact date of construction is unknown, but by the beginning of the 4th century it was in decay. (2)

Scheduled. (3)

The shell of the Mithraeum measures 12.3m N-S by 5.7m E-W with walls standing to a maximum height of 1.0m. Replicas of the internal fittings have been fitted in cast stone. See G.P. AO/65/143/2. The site of the shrine is under the turf; only a fragment of well casing. (in situ) survives above ground. Surveyed at 1:2500. (4)

The Mithraeum has been consolidated and partly reconstructed in its 4th C form; it is under guardianship and open to the public. Of the remains S of the doorway, nothing is visible on the surface except for the top of the N slab of the well-head. The Mithraeum was surveyed at 1:1000 scale as a part of the Carrawburgh Survey; the plan and report are held in the NMR archive. (5)

Overall summary. (6)

Scheduled. (7)

The site of the Mithraeum since consolidation and reconstrucion was seen and mapped from air photographs. (8)

Near Carrawburgh fort stands a temple of the god beloved by Roman soldiers, with facsimiles of altars found during excavation. Sited like many Mithraic temples near a military base, it was founded in the 3rd century, and eventually desecrated, probably by Christians. Nearby was the still more popular well shrine of the water-nymph Coventina (9-10)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Richmond IA and Gillam JP The Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh
Page(s) : Jan-92
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 29, 1951
Source Number : 2
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Smith DJ The Shrine of the Nymphs and the Genius Loci at Carrawburgh
Page(s) : 59-81
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Vol(s) : 40, 1962
Source Number : 11
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : AMs. (England and Wales), 1962, 62. (MOW)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ECW 10-JAN-1966
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Iain Sainsbury/10-AUG-1984/RCHME: Carrawburgh Survey
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Source Number : 6
Source : Carrawburgh Roman Fort and its environs : a survey of the extent and state of preservation of the archaeological remains
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Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Jul-97
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Source Number : 8
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NY8571/48 (TMG 13889/81) 16-May-1992
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Source Number : 9
Source : English Heritage Members' and Visitors' handbook 2008/9
Source details :
Page(s) : 245
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Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Link to Visitor Information on the English Heritage website [Accessed 23-SEP-2008 http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.13309
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : AD 200 - AD 330 in date
Monument End Date : 330
Monument Start Date : 201
Monument Type : Mithraeum
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Hadrian's Wall Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 8571/19
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Hadrian's Wall Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 8571/26
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 : 26054
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northumberland)
External Cross Reference Number : 7932
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 94
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 87 SE 147
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1013365
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 16704
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1013364
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1007907
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : CARRAWBURGH (MITHRAEUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1950-01-01
End Date : 1950-12-31
Associated Activities : CARRAWBURGH (SHRINE OF THE NYMPHS)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1960-01-01
End Date : 1960-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBERVATION ON NY 87 SE 147
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-01-10
End Date : 1966-01-10
Associated Activities : RCHME: CARRAWBURGH SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: HADRIAN'S WALL PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1993-08-01