THIS new museum exhibition is sure to excite the historian within you as you explore the Roman link to the salt towns of Cheshire.

Opening on October 15 at the Lion Salt Works Museum in Northwich, the exhibition includes a copy of the rare Roman helmet made of iron found in Northwich, while also focussing on the rich salt history of Northwich and Middlewich.

The mining of precious metals was a key objective of the military invasion of Wales by the Romans, but of almost equal importance was the much-prized salt beneath the nearby Cheshire Plain.

Salt was crucial to Roman soldiers, so much so that each soldier received a small amount of salt with his wages, and it is thought that the word ‘salary’ is derived from the Latin for salt.

This meant the rare salt-producing settlements in the Roman Empire were much prized, like the Cheshire salt towns of Northwich and Middlewich. 

The Romans protected this precious commodity with auxiliary forts, such as one in Northwich, which was reinforced with cavalrymen.

Middlewich was so abundant in salt it was known as Salinae (Salt Town) and five roads were built so this precious commodity could be easily distributed. 

Visitors to ‘The Romans and the Salt Towns of Cheshire’, opening until April 30, can expect a fascinating insight into west Cheshire’s Roman collection, all included in the standard entry price of the museum.

Councillor Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The little-known importance of Cheshire’s salt towns to the Romans is revealed in this fascinating exhibition.

“I am very pleased that people will quite literally have a chance to feel the past thanks to the museum’s ‘Handling Collection’.

“The history of Cheshire cannot be really understood without knowing about the importance of salt.

“I hope that as many people as possible are able to visit this fascinating exhibition.”