Ancient Stories: Regina

Ancient monuments with inscriptions weren’t just for celebrating big historic events, important dates, or honouring the gods. There’s also a whole category of inscriptions that can tell us lost of details about peoples’ lives. We can find out names, ages, accomplishments – even sometimes information on what they were like as a person. And these types of inscriptions are still something we do today to celebrate the lives of our loved ones. Can you guess what they might be?

Different ‘modern’ monuments in St Andrew’s Cemetery, Jesmond – though only modern compared to the Romans, as these are over 100 years old!

That’s right, we’re talking about tombstones, sometimes also called gravestones or headstones. The Romans believed it was very important to honour the dead and they often erected beautiful funerary monuments to celebrate their loved ones. The Romans here in Britannia were no different, and we can find out useful information about the type of people living in and around Hadrian’s Wall from this particular type of stone that they left behind.

Keep reading to find out

One of the most famous Roman tombstones from Britannia is from right here in the North East. It was created for a woman called Regina, and it was discovered in South Shields near Arbeia fort. It is a beautiful and very detailed tombstone, full of interesting clues about Regina’s life. Have a look at the images below showing the excavated tombstone and an imagined reconstruction. Then put your history detective skills into practice with the worksheet which follows. What can you discover about Regina?

Happy clue-hunting! We’ll be back next week to explore Regina’s beautiful tombstone together – or you can even visit her yourself for free at Arbeia Roman Fort!

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