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Historic England Research Records

South Shields Vicus

Hob Uid: 26499
Location :
South Tyneside
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : NZ3640067800
Summary : The site of the Roman vicus associated with the fort at South Shields (also known as Arbeia). Excavations in 1973-4 seem to confirm the location of a Roman vicus at South Shields. A 2nd century rectangular building was exposed, with hearths and rough paved areas indicative of occupation into the late 4th century. Large quantities of 2nd and 3rd century pottery were found, along with roofing tiles and an area of burning, suggesting a possible market place.Excavations in 2002, 125m west-south-west of the fort, during extensions to Hadrian School, found remains of second to third century timber buildings at a depth of almost 2 metres, suggesting that the entire plan of the vicus may survive below 19th and 20th century housing. The remains of a road and a possible unfinished timber granary were also identified. The mainstream occupation appears to have ceased before the end of the third century.
More information : NZ 365677. Roman vicus at South Shields. Salway suggests that the vicus, whose existence has already been proved from the monuments in the Roman cemetery, (see NZ 36 NE 5) probably grew up along the Roman road, discovered 1874 (see 'Wrekin Dike' - RR 809 for details) S of the fort. More conclusive evidence of civil settlement was discovered 1973-74 when excavation circa 90m W of the fort, in Baring Street (NZ 364 678) revealed foundations of a rectangular building 6.6m x 4.8m containing a later cross wall, provisionally dated to the C2nd. Two floor levels were found within the building and a layer of burnt material overlying them. Subsequently the area seems to have been occupied by possible late C4th 'squatters' as the evidence of several hearths and rough paved areas suggest. Abutting the E side of the building were the remains of a cobbled street with part of a drain running centrally. Other finds included large quantities of C2 - C3 pottery, roofing tiles, and evidence of a possible market place occupied by stalls, which was destroyed by burning. A portion of road surface about 7m wide with drainage channel crossing diagonally was also uncovered. (Site NZ 36 NE 24 probably forms part of the vicus). (1-4)

The area at NZ 364 678 is now covered by a school and there is no trace of the 73-74 excavations. No further information regarding the vicus was obtained. (5)

Excavations in 2002 125m west-south-west of the fort, during extensions to Hadrian School, found remains of second to third century timber buildings at a depth of almost 2 metres, suggesting that the entire plan of the vicus may survive below 19th and 20th century housing. The remains of a road and a possible unfinished timber granary were also identified. The mainstream occupation appears to have ceased before the end of the third century. (6)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : The frontier people of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 60-66
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Archaeological excavations
Source details : (J W Thornbarrow)
Page(s) : 39
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1973
Source Number : 3
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 3: Archaeological newsbulletin for Northumberland, Cumberland, Durham, Westmorland and Lancashire-north-of-the-sands
Source details : (T G Newman)
Page(s) : 6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, 1974
Source Number : 4
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 407, 464
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1974
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ISS 23-AUG-78
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Hadrian's Wall 1999-2009
Source details :
Page(s) : 61-73
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 399
Monument Start Date : 100
Monument Type : Vicus, Building, Hearth
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Vicus, Building, Hearth
Object Type : TILE
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 36 NE 41
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 26450
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 26405
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, SOUTH SHIELDS (ARBEIA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1974-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 36 NE 41
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1978-08-23
End Date : 1978-08-23
Associated Activities : Primary, FORMER TURK'S HEAD PUBLIC HOUSE, GREEN'S PLACE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31