Museum reopens with soldier’s P45

One of the First Century helmets on show.One of the First Century helmets on show.
One of the First Century helmets on show.
Since re-opening its doors in August 2021 after a £1.4million transformation, the Trimontium Museum in Melrose has welcomed more than 15,000 visitors.

The impressive facility was also awarded a five-star visitor attraction by Visit Scotland in 2022, an achievement which recognises the enthusiasm and warm welcome that its volunteers and staff provide to visitors.

The new season, starting tomorrow (Friday, February 10) sees a new temporary exhibition which highlights the incredible wealth and artistry of the Roman Empire.

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This includes original first century helmets and decorated cheek pieces, which cavalry soldiers wore to war to protect their heads and faces.

The rare military document given to a Syrian archer.The rare military document given to a Syrian archer.
The rare military document given to a Syrian archer.

These are accompanied by shield bosses which were a central part of their armour.

Also on display is an exceptionally rare military diploma of a soldier who had been stationed on Hadrian’s Wall almost two thousand years ago.

John Reid, chair of the Trimontium Trust, said: “This diploma, made from two leaves of bronze, and actually engraved in Rome itself, is in effect the ancient P45 of a discharged Roman Soldier.

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"The man who owned the diploma was an archer from Syria who had been pensioned with all the perks of a new Roman citizen.

"The diploma gave him a truly international passport to travel without borders across the whole of the Roman Empire and the privilege of paying no income tax.”

Kay Callander, secretary of the Trimontium Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be able to add to our displays, one of the largest collections of Roman military equipment to be seen anywhere in Britain, this fascinating diploma of a Roman soldier discharged after 25 years of honourable service.”

Frances Mann, volunteer and visitor experience manager, added: “We re-open our doors for the 2023 season on February 10, with a week of family activities.

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"This will include a trail within the museum, a competition for the best picture and a not-to-be-missed day of storytelling and fascinating tales of the Romans by Nicola Agricola who will be engaging children with stories from the past on February 18 at the museum.

"We are delighted to be opening again for 2023 with a week of activities and I would encourage anyone with young children to come and be enthralled by Nicola Agricola and tales of the Romans.”

Details of opening times are on the trust’s website and an online booking system, although visitors who drop in without advance booking are also welcomed.

The Trimontium Trust also runs guided walks to the site of the nearby Roman fort and a series of online talks.

More information about these and other associated events can be found at

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