The ongoing excavations at Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, frequently unearth glimpses of life during the Roman occupation of Britain.
And, now, as part of Treasures of South Tyneside 2015, organised by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Bede’s World, Jarrow and South Tyneside Council, a collection is to go on display for a limited period only.
Among the items that have fascinated archaeologists is a knife handle, intricately carved in the shape of a gladiator, holding his shield and sword, on display until 15 June.
Although a number of similar knife handles exist, this one, which is made of ivory, is a particularly fine example, with a great level of detail in the carving.
It was found in South Shields in the 19th century and is on loan to Arbeia from the Great North Museum: Hancock. It will be displayed next to a small fragment of another gladiator knife handle, made from bone, found during excavations at the Fort.
Joining the knife handles on display, will be the stone head of a Roman goddess, discovered during excavations in 2014.
It is thought to be Brigantia, goddess of the Brigantes tribe that ruled northern Britain during the Roman occupation, who was said to have been worshipped in South Shields.
The archaeological exhibition is one of a number of events with military or historical connections taking place at Arbeia throughout the summer.
On 20 June visitors will be able to see a more modern example of wartime weaponry when a replica WW1 tank pays a visit to the Fort ahead of the Armed Forces Day Parade and ‘Bad-landers’ family fun day in Bents Park on 21 June.
Arbeia Roman Fort will also provide the setting for a series of outdoor concerts, starting on Sunday 7 June when local artists Arbeia, Too Spicy and Cortney Dixon will perform between 1pm and 4pm. Entry is free.
Then, on Friday 12 June, the venue will Rock the Romans with a free concert by South Shields super group Rivelino from7.30pm until late.
On Friday 19 June, from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, North East based acoustic duo Fool’s Gold will commemorate WW1 through music and imagery and the month of music will draw to a close on Sunday 28 June with the annual, free, Proms at the Fort, from 2pm to 4pm, with South Tyneside Orchestra.
Treasures of South Tyneside 2015 runs until September and further information about the full range of exhibitions and displays and the venue opening hours can be found at www.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk.