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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Mrs Martha Stewart

Stewart, Martha (2018). South Shields 1875: an early excavation in context. Archaeologia Aeliana 46: 181-220.

Author(s) from Durham


Robert Blair (1845–1923) served as Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, and editor of
this journal, for forty years until his death. But his association with the Society had in fact begun a
decade earlier, when he became involved in plans to explore the remains of the Roman fort at South
Shields in 1874. This paper is inspired by a scrapbook he later compiled relating to the venture, which
offers detailed insight into the practical and financial organisation of the excavation, the role of SANT,
which has previously been underplayed, and the long-running debate over the preservation of the site.
In terms of the development of British archaeology, it illuminates what is clearly a significant episode
in the twilight between the domination of the interests of landowners and amateur antiquarians, and
the institutional sponsorship of excavations from the 1890s onwards.