RARE Roman treasure has gone on display providing a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past.
One of the most significant finds in Roman history, described by experts as an “2,000-year-old time capsule”, has been unveiled as part of a new exhibition at a Northumberland museum.
The Corbridge Hoard, featuring the finest example of Roman armour in the world, opens to the public at Corbridge Roman Town today.
The collection’s influence is such that it has shaped the way that Roman soldiers are portrayed on stage and screen the world over.
The new exhibition features never-before-seen footage of the actual excavation of the hoard in 1964, along with a striking display which shows the armour in its original state, adjacent to a replica which will help visitors envisage how the armour once looked.
Kevin Booth, senior curator at English Heritage, said: “The Corbridge Hoard is one the most remarkable Roman finds of the past century. For us, it’s treasure.
“The armour, found during the 1964 excavations, has since helped to shape our understanding of Roman armour. Incredibly, when the hoard was first discovered, it was like finding a time capsule from the past – a stunningly-preserved piece of history, found in an iron-bound, leather-covered wooden chest buried in the ground, which revealed a great deal about our Roman ancestors.
“These are very sensitive and delicate objects and it is hugely important that the new display provides the most protective environment to ensure its survival.
“We are very proud of the way we have presented the armour.
“In a way though, just as exciting is the film showing the excavation of the hoard as it was dug up from the trench back in 1964, now being shown to visitors as part of the exhibit and for the very first time.”
When the hoard, which includes military material such as spears and knives, was originally discovered buried within the centre of Corbridge Roman Town, experts were amazed by its condition. Curator Frances McIntosh said: “The importance of the hoard is that before this was found people knew there was the segmented armour, but we didn’t know how it was put together or how it was made.
“The hoard had been on display previously but some of it was at the Great North Museum. So this project has been about bringing together a lot of material, doing extensive conservation and about the reconstruction.”
Liz Page, historic properties director for the North at English Heritage, said: “We look forward to welcoming people coming to see for themselves some of the brand new developments and we hope to encourage people to discover the Roman life, epic history and stunning scenery along Hadrian’s Wall.”
For more information about Corbridge Roman Town and the hoard, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/corbridge
Alternatively, anyone interested can call 01434 632349.