About Greenhead Roman Army Museum
The Greenhead Roman Army Museum displays a series of Roman artefacts and replica military paraphernalia from weaponry and armour to chariots and wagons. Nestled nearby a number of other forts along Hadrian’s Wall, the museum is a great way to learn about the Roman Empire’s northernmost frontier before exploring it yourself!
Greenhead Roman Army Museum history
The Greenhead Roman Army Museum is located next to one of the oldest Roman forts in the area. Known as Magna or Magnis under the Romans, the fort was likely built around 86 AD by the Twentieth Legion following the Roman withdrawal from Scotland.
Its purpose was to defend an important road junction where the Maiden Way crossed the Stanegate, the latter being a vital Roman road linking Carlisle to Corbridge. It predates Hadrian’s Wall, with the vast Vallum earthwork ditch running between the two, yet was rebuilt in 120 AD concurrent with the vast boundary’s construction.
It was at this time occupied by the First Cohort of Batavians, a 500-strong regiment of cavalry and infantry soldier from Western Germany, and later was home to the First Cohort of Hamian Archers from Syria.
The fort was likely abandoned when the Romans retreated out of Britain, and in later years became known as Carvoran Roman Fort.
Greenhead Roman Army Museum today
Today the Greenhead Roman Army Museum presents a fascinating glimpse into the world of Roman Britain, with a host of intriguing artefacts on display from the Magna fort. A range of objects are also derived from the collection of Vindolanda, the museum’s sister site that took over the administration in 1997.
Other displays at the Greenhead Roman Army Museum include an account of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, under whom Hadrian’s Wall was built, and a reconstructed barracks room. A film about the fort may also be viewed, which includes a reconstruction of what it may have looked like.
All that is left of Magna fort itself is a set of slight earthworks, however its large scale gives an indication of what must have once been a thriving military base amongst the beautiful Northumberland countryside.
Getting to Greenhead Roman Army Museum
Greenhead Roman Army Museum is located in Greenhead in Northumberland, and can be accessed via the A69 by following the brown tourist signs. The nearest train station is Haltwhistle Station, and the AD122 bus service runs through the summer.