Welcome to the Trimontium Heritage Centre
The Story of the Roman Capital of South Scotland
Trimontium was the name of the Three Hills Place - in the lee of the Eildon Hills one mile from the town of Melrose beside the village of Newstead in the Scottish Borders. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD there grew up an enormous Romano-native complex - which lasted around 100 years. The Centre is in Melrose. The story is coming up!
The Museum displays are on the ground floor and there is wheelchair access throughout.
The Museum is open every day (Sunday by arrangement) from 25 March this year to 1 November (£2 adults, £1.50 concessions or £5 family).
There are guided walks to the site each Thursday from 28 March to 31 October from the Heritage Centre (with wonderful views on the Walk) and tea included - £3 adults, £2.50 concessions, children free, dogs welcome, 1.30pm-5.15pm). (In July and August we guide the site Walk on Tuesday afternoons as well as Thursday afternoons. We tell ourselves that it keeps us fit).
Ian Brown guides a site-only walk on Sunday afternoons from 30 June to 24 August 2013 from 2 to 4.30pm at a £2 flat rate. No booking and this time please bring your own refreshments. Just turn up at the Millennium Milestone at the East end of Newstead, TD6 9DE. Donald Gordon, Brian Mahler, Martin Neilson and Geraldine Rowley continue with the full no-booking-needed Trimontium Walk at 1.30pm prompt from the heart of mediaeval Melrose, past the Abbey and its sights to the stonemasons' village of Newstead and then round the site, the 'high spot' being the views from Leaderfoot Viaduct, before tea in the Village Hall at 4.30pm and the return to Melrose. All from Thurs 28 March.
The free Walk on Saturday 1 September, 2012 from Newstead Millennium Milestone at 1.30pm to Drygrange Roman Summerhouse (tea in Grange Hall at 3.30pm for a donation) was part of Scottish Archaeology Month and involved 'dramatic interludes' with all the Walk guides taking part, including Trustee Ian Skinner. The highlight again was 'Horatius' at the (Old Drygrange) bridge, standing in, once more, pace Lord Macaulay, for the bridge at Rome. Brian, Martin and DG were Horatius and his mates; John Reid was James Curle, the 1905-10 excavator; Ian Skinner was Agricola and Geraldine read from Queen Victoria's Journal about her 1867 visit to Newstead and Melrose. On Saturday 7 September, 2013 we hope to climb Easter Hill from that same Old Drygrange Bridge at 1.30pm. All welcome - and tea afterwards at Newstead Village Hall by 3.30pm if possible.
School groups come throughout the year, keen to enjoy the interactive Route March (Latin salutes, marching song) followed by the Museum Tour (£2 per pupil, adults free) with sword demo and costumes..Arrangements are made with DG on 01896 822651.
We are in the 'Premier League' of Accredited Museums and have 'iconic objects' on loan via the National Museums in Edinburgh from James Curle's first excavation at Newstead (1905 to 1910) - a centenary which we have been busy celebrating. His 450-page Report came out in 1911 ('A Roman Frontier Post and its People: the Fort of Newstead in the Parish of Melrose'} and there was published in January 2013 a £25 book, under the aegis of the National Museums,with articles by experts indicating the work of the last one hundred years and the prospects for the future, as well as contributions from Trustees about the Trust and its local projects.There was a double-launch on Jan 10 in the Corn Exchange and the Ormiston, led by two of the Patrons, Lord Polwarth and the Hon Gerald Maitland-Carew and funded by a member of the Curle family. It was a wonderful day with a wonderful atmosphere which may be judged from the images in the forthcoming Trumpet 27. The title, echoing Curle's own title, is 'A Roman Frontier Post and its People: Newstead 1911-2011' and it may be ordered through the Trimontium Museum. The postage itself is about the £5.50 mark but we think the book, with its 17 contributors, is worth every penny as a record of where we are in Trimontium studies and where we should be going. [As part of the Celebration we also sponsored (Dec 2010) Allan Wilson's book (BAR 519, Oxford), about the finds from Borders sites, entitled 'Roman and Native in the Central Scottish Borders' - a bible of information on artefacts and history].
At the instigation of Dr John Reid, the Chairman, the Trust fund-raised and commissioned Mr David Simon, Edinburgh reconstruction artist, to produce an acrylic painting of Trimontium fort in its 2nd century AD heyday environment, from the Eildons to the Tweed, and this was unveiled in Spring 2012 and used in our publicity. His Cramond fort illustration is a 'stunner' - and we think ours is too. See it in the Museum corridor as you come in. It forms the back cover of Trumpet 26 (elsewhere in this website). Perhaps we could put it on our site info boards.
Dr Reid carried all the Spring 2012 Lectures on his own shoulders in a veritable 'Treiduum' - a play on the Latin word for a period of three days. His first, on April 19, was on Burnswark in SW Scotland and he queried whether it was the scene of a training exercise (a Benbecula) or indeed a massacre (a Masada) ordered by Hadrian to quell one of the most rebellious parts of the province, which required an Expeditio Britannica of troops from the Continent. Slingbolts used here, some containing poison, are unique in the Empire. Dr Reid will pursue this topic and we look forward to hearing more.
His next lecture was a presentation of the Trust's visit to Rome in October 2011, led by Prof. Keppie. The wonderful images supplied by members were supplemented by Ian Dalton's presentation on Rome's ports and an account of the Trust's visit to the British School at Rome (a postgraduate college built by Lutyens in 1911 - an important date for us). His third lecture took us to the Eastern frontier via Carnuntum in Austria, where he had given a talk on Trimontium. His images from Jordan of the still-standing two-storey Roman fort of Qasr Bish (?) in the desert had the audience gaping in amazement at the comparison with what we usually see of Roman forts. Trumpet 27 will try to summarise this tour de force for which Ian Brown's vote of thanks was enthusiastically endorsed.
The summer outing brought some forty members and friends to see the Frontiers (ancient and modern) Exhibition at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle and then, access to Burnswark being too wet, to Birdoswald on Hadrian's Wall in the sunshine. Again it was a social and happy occasion as well as being informative.
The 2012 Winter Celebrity Lectures were held in Melrose Corn Exchange at 7.30pm on Thursdays 11, 18 and 25 October, under the title of 'Inveresk, Pompeii - and Abbotsford: An Archaeological Journey'. Bruce Glendinning of CFA Archaeology spoke on 11th October on 'Off with their Heads!' a study of a recent dig at Inveresk where a few Roman soldiers were found buried, with their heads carefully removed and placed beside their bodies, in, it must be said, a respectful manner. This is not so rare an occurrence in other parts of Britain, according to Robert Philpott (BAR 219, 1991).
Professor Alastair Small of Alberta and Edinburgh Universities, from a wealth of experience in Italy, talked to a big audience on 18 October on 'Recent Work at Pompeii and Herculaneum'. including the ongoing problems of conservation and lack of money. Colin Wallace of Liverpool University completed the trilogy with reflections on 25 October on Sir Walter Scott as a Collector and how he and others harked back to 'the Celts', misidentified some objects - and 'lost' them. The Stichill collar doesn't come from there. Has anyone any information about its true provenance?.
Walter Elliot, our past Chairman and famous fieldwalker and 'finder', awarded in 2011 the prestigious Dorothy Marshall Medal for his voluntary work over fifty years produced 'Divining Archaeology' (£10), the story of his many years of 'dowsing', which lays down challenges to archaeologists, is proving popular with diviners. His second olume of 'Selkirkshire and the Borders', from 1603 to the present, is full of good stories and costs £25 from good booksellers.
If you would like to know more of what we got up to last year you can catch up with the highlights or have a look at our news items, once we make time to put them on. A look at Trumpet 26, our latest available Newsletter, is a good start. Trumpet 27 is being put together now and we are grateful to Angus Ferguson for his invaluable help in wedding the images to the text.
Other forthcoming events may be found on our News page, as and when, in this busy life, we can make time to put on the details.