I love the Roman reconstructions at Arbeia. They make it so easy to visualise what the fort would have looked like 1900 years ago.
Leslie and Beth are part of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums service and they worked hard to make it a super day. We had a sensory tour of the fort followed by artefact handling with curator Alex Croom who identified objects that were named and so belonged to actual Frontier Voices living at Arbeia in Roman times. Soldiers named their bowls, initials were also found and even evidence of dogs who left footprints in wet tiles before they were fired at the kiln within the fort. After this Y5 then interrogated individual artefacts and discussed these which provided evidence of different animals (bones), a beautiful carved bone hairpin which tells us that there were affluent women present, along with glass bottles, evidence of pottery etc. In the area round the fort there would have been sheep, which would have provided both fibres for spinning and felting as well as meat. In York, evidence of headpots made by African soldier potters showed real faces; for example the face of Severus’ wife Julie Domna from Syria. This idea inspired us to look at our own identities - how we see ourselves and we feel is important to us - and then we will create headpots made of felted wool instead of clay, which could be displayed in the Arbeia Museum. We then selected a suitable part of the museum for our display.
We started making some pre-felt using a wet felting technique using bubblewrap and a pool noodle - both of which can be re-used multiple times, as I move towards more sustainable Arts methods with large groups of participants