Newcastle (Pons Aelius) – Quick Facts
Newcastle-upon-Tyne was the location of a wall fort and a large bridge (pons) with ten stone piers crossing the River Tyne built by Hadrian whose family name was Aelius.
Great North Museum
- The museum has an interactive model of Hadrian’s Wall winding its way up and down ridges and across flats from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway.
- There are models of a turret and a milecastle.
- The museum also houses many artefacts from the forts of Segedunum and Arbeia, as well as the original altars and the head of Antenociticus from the temple at Benwell.
- Another major part of the museum exhibit is a full size reconstruction of the interior of the temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh near the wall.
- The reconstruction shows the inside of the temple with the colourful statues of Cautes and Cautopates, Mithras’ companions marking the entrance of the inner sanctuary.
- Also in the museum are the original altars from the Mithraeum and a relief called the tauroctony depicting Mithras slaying a bull, which would have hung behind the altars in the window-less, cave-like temple.
Benwell Roman Temple
- The Roman temple was built in the 2nd century AD near the Hadrian’s Wall fort of Condercum.
- Set amongst redbrick homes in a housing estate, the stone foundations of Benwell Roman Temple sits in a little fenced lot.
- Dedicated to a local god, Atenociticus, it was located outside the fort whose remains lie buried under the city streets and buildings nearby.
- There are two cement copies of altars that were found during excavation of the temple.
- The head of a statue of Antenociticus found at Benwell Temple is on display in the Great North Museum in Newcastle.
Benwell Vallum Crossing
- The vallum was built on the south side of Hadrian’s Wall in the 120s AD.
- In the late 2nd century a military road was built between the wall and the vallum.
- A short length of Roman stone paving remains crosses over the vallum ditch.
- Benwell is the only remain of an overpass over the vallum, the structure of two turf banks about 10 feet high separated by a twenty foot flat bottomed ditch that ran south along the wall.
Denton Hall Turret
- Denton Hall Turret (#7B) was built as part of Hadrian’s Wall in the 120s AD.
- It is the first surviving turret site from the eastern terminus, but it is Turret #7b on the Wall.
- Denton Hall Turret is a little square foundation (13 x 14 feet) and a stretch of low rubbly-looking wall running either side.
- While small in area, it would have been two stories high with access to the wall’s walkway.
- Turrets accommodated four to eight soldiers stationed there.
Heddon-on-the-Wall Wall Section
- Hadrian’s Wall construction began in AD 122.
- A stretch of Hadrian’s Wall about 255 meters (837 feet) standing up to 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) and with a width of 3 meters (10 feet).
- The wall is widest here and becomes narrower to the west when building plans were changed, probably to speed up the construction.
- An interesting feature of this section is a round opening in the wall with a flat floor that is almost the width of the wall and according to the guide book is a post-Roman kiln.