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New Roman find at South Shields fort

Volunteer with part of a dog jaw recovered from the Arbeia site © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Staff from Ward Hadaway law firm and from Northumbrian Water worked with archaeologists at the World Heritage site to continue excavation work, discovering a new find at the fort - a Roman hair pin.

Nick Hodgson, Archaeological Projects Manager, said: “With help from the team of volunteers we made good headway with the excavations at Arbeia, even uncovering an ornamental Roman hair pin made from animal bone.

Arbeia is the only fort on Hadrian’s Wall where visitors can see archaeological excavations taking place and this just goes to show that there are still exciting finds to be unearthed here.”

The volunteers also cleaned and sorted small artefacts which had previously been discovered at Arbeia including pieces of Roman pottery, animal bones and Roman brick and tiles.

The animal bones included parts of a dog’s jaw bone, part of one of two 3rd century AD dog burials found at Arbeia in August, possibly buried for ritual reasons.

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway, said: "As a firm, we believe in playing a full part in the communities which we serve and this was a terrific opportunity to do just that.

Making an intriguing new discovery about the history of South Tyneside certainly added to the attraction of the activity and helped to make for a fascinating day’s work for our staff who took part.”

Dean Lawson, a health and safety advisor at Northumbrian Water, was one of the volunteers who took part through the water company’s ‘Just an hour’ scheme, that allows all employees to spend paid work time supporting community projects. Dean said: “It’s very rare to get the chance to go on a professional archaeological dig so it was a really good opportunity and we made some interesting discoveries. I have already volunteered to clean and save artefacts again next year.”

Ward Hadaway and Northumbrian Water are both members of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ business partnership scheme, Connect through Culture. As part of the Connect through Culture scheme, members can take part in bespoke team building and staff development activities in some of the region’s leading museums and galleries. For more information about Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ business partnership scheme, Connect through Culture, contact Stef Anderson, 0191 277 2173.

Arbeia Roman Fort will be part of a new community archaeology project, focusing on uncovering more about Hadrian’s Wall. Members of the public will have the opportunity to get involved with everything from hands-on excavation work to surveying and desk-based research. To register for more details about opportunities to get involved, contact Nick Hodgson, 0191 454 4093.

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