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SOUTH SHIELDS ROMAN CEMETERY

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The Roman cemetery at the Lawe was presumably the South Shields fort burial ground. Inhumations and cremations have been found here as well as inscribed gravestones. Tombstone 22 x 22 in. D(is) M(anibus) s(acrum)/Au[...]dus/ uix[it] anno(s)/VIIII menses VIIII/L(ucius) Arruntius Sal/ uianus filio/b(ene merenti) piissimo. 'Sacred to the spirits of the departed: Au[...]dus lived 9 years, 9 months; Lucius Arruntius Salvianus (set this up) to his deserving and most devoted son'. Part of tombstone 19in x 28 in. D(is) M(anibus)/Iul[... 'To the spirits of the departed...' Tombstone 23in x 40in with die 21in x 7in of which the gable was found in 1881 in Cleveland Street and the rest in 1885 about 100 yards away at the junction of James Mather Street and Cleveland Street, South Shields. D(is) M(anibus) Victoris natione Maurum/[a]nnorum XX libertus Numeriani/ [e]q(u)itis I Asturum qui/piantissime pr[ose]qu(u)tus est. 'To the spirits of the departed (and) of Victor, a Moorish tribesman, aged 20, freedman of Numerianus, trooper of the First Cavalry Regiment of Asturians, who most devotedly conducted him to the tomb'. Tombstone 28in x 44in with die 28in x 7 in; now in four fragments. D(is) M(anibus) Regina liberta et coniuge/Barates Palmyrenus natione/Catuallauna an(norum) XXX. 'To the spirits of the departed (and to) Regina, his freedwoman and wife, a Catuvellaunian by tribe, aged 30, Barates of Palmyra (set this up)'; all are in South Shields Museum. Excavations in 1993-4 uncovered more inhumations and cremations. The cemetery continued in use until the 4th century AD and its distance from the fort in this period suggests that the vicus did not contract in size as happened on other sites. Grave-goods included a jet distaff and spindle whorl, a shale bracelet and a glass bead necklace.

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