New Roman Cavalry exhibition to open along Hadrian's Wall

  • New multi-site exhibition to explore the role of horses in Roman military life
  • Objects including helmets, armour and weapons will be on display along the length of Hadrian's Wall in 2017

Hadrian's Cavalry, running from April until September, will explore the role and daily life of the Roman army's cavalry forces in a unique exhibition. Ten museums and heritage attractions are taking part in the wall-wide exhibition, including three English Heritage sites. A collection of cavalry objects, on loan from national and international museums, will go on display to explore the role and importance of cavalry to the Roman army and Empire - which is often neglected in public presentation of the Roman frontier.

In addition to the exhibition, cavalry re-enactments will take place on 1 and 2 July at Bitts Park in Carlisle. 30 Roman cavalrymen - known as a turma (or troop) - will come together for the first time in almost 2,000 years to give visitors a flavour of the expert skill and horsemanship of the Roman cavalry.


The exhibition at Corbridge Roman Town and Museum will explore the depiction of horses in Roman artefacts - including brooches, sculpture and pottery - and what this tells us about the animals' importance to Roman life. Meanhile, Chesters Roman Fort will tell the story of the strong bond between cavalrymen and their horses, including the looking-after and maintaining of horses.

Chesters will also be host to a specially commissioned contemporary art installation from July, using the natural environment and sound to simulate the presence of 500 horses once stabled within the ruins. This immersive experience, supported by the Arts Council, will paint an audio-visual picture of life on the edge of the Roman empire, and the importance of horsemanship in Roman life.


The cavalry exhibition will be the first of its kind in bringing together a group of Roman cavalry objects including ornate helmets, armour and weapons from museums across the world, piecing together the story of the Roman army's horseback riders and bringing many original objects back to the landscape where they would have been produced and used.

Bill Griffiths, chair of the Hadrian's Cavalry steering group, said:

Hadrian's Cavalry will reveal the story of the Roman riders through a unique exhibition spread across 10 museums and heritage attractions, each with its own special exhibition and objects. Never before have people been able to see this collection of Roman cavalry objects in the actual locations they would have been used.

The exhibition is also a coming together of heritage groups and organisations, working collabroatively to celebrate an iconic piece of Roman history. Alongside the involvement of English Heritage, core partners in the exhibition include Northumberland National Park Authority, Senhouse Museum Trust, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and the Vindolanda Trust.

For more information on the Hadrian's Cavalry exhibition, visit


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