October

Tombstone of Victor

Object: Tombstone of Victor

Manufacturer: Unknown

Materials: sandstone

Place: South Shields, UK

Date of Creation: 2nd Century AD, Roman

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Tyne & Wear, UK

EMu user since 2010

Tombstone of VictorTombstone of Victor, a freed slave who died when he was 20 years old. Victor was a Moor from North Africa who had been owned by a cavalryman called Numerianus from Spain. The high quality of the tombstone suggests they had a very close relationship. He is depicted reclining on a dining-couch, while a slave, shown at a different scale, offers him a cup of wine.

The tombstone was found in the area of the cemetery outside the fort and supply base of Arbeia in South Shields. The fort guarded the mouth of the River Tyne and its port, and was part of the same frontier defences as Hadrian’s Wall, but it is most important because it is one of  the very few supply bases in the Roman world to have been excavated. At its height it held 24 granaries with enough food to supply 11 other forts. The busy port would have seen people coming from all over the Roman Empire; as well as North Africa and Spain, it is known that people came to Arbeia from France, Syria, Italy and Iraq.

Acknowledgements: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on behalf of South Tyneside Council. Accession Number TWCMS:T766