Archaeology Unearthed: The social role of non-metal valuables in Late Bronze Age Britain by Dr Joanna Brück

Necklace of jet and amber from High Throston. Co. Durham © Tees Archaeology 2017

Necklace of jet and amber from High Throston. Co. Durham © Tees Archaeology 2017

Bronze Age metal objects are widely viewed as markers of wealth and status.  Items made from other materials, such as shale and amber, tend either to be framed in similar terms as ‘prestige goods’, or to be viewed as decorative trifles of limited research value.  However, such simplistic models dramatically underplay the social role of objects.

In this talk Dr Joanna Brück will examine objects of amber, jet and shale in Late Bronze Age Britain, addressing in particular their contexts and associations as well as patterns of breakage to consider the cultural meanings and values ascribed to such items and to explore how human and object biographies were intertwined.

Dr Bruck’s primary area of research is the archaeology of the British Bronze Age.   She is particularly interested in the treatment of the human body and concepts of the self; depositional practices and what these reveal about the meanings and values ascribed to objects; and the relationship between space and society including domestic architecture and the changing organisation of landscape.  Dr Bruck has also developed research interest in historical archaeology, including Victorian and Edwardian public parks, and recently published an edited volume on the material culture of the 1916 Rising in Ireland.

This talk will be held at the Dorset County Museum on Friday 3rd February 2017 at 7.30pm (The Museum doors open at 7.00pm). The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

Travellers’ Tales: Sand, Rock and Snow with Caroline Richards

Caroline RichardsOn Thursday 26th January at 7.30pm, come join us for a fascinating talk by Caroline Richards who has run on four different continents far off the tourist trail.

Caroline will take you on a visit to four wilderness areas on four different continents, far off the tourist trail.  These remote environments provided a backdrop for multi-day, self-sufficiency running events in which she participated.  The talk is seen through the eyes of an ultra-runner, but provides varied insights and anecdotes into the diverse cultures involved.

At the age of 40, she decided to increase her level of fitness so that she would be able to climb Mont Blanc.  This positive outcome has subsequently encouraged her, over the last fifteen years, to test her limits.  Caroline has participated in multi-day, self-sufficiency events across the world’s deserts and mountain ranges.

Thursday 26th January at 7.00pm (The Museum doors open at 7.00pm). The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

An Exhibition of Merrily Harpur’s Artwork

Merrily Harpur at Work

Merrily Harpur at Work

Dorset County Museum is pleased to present an exhibition by Merrily Harpur, the well-known cartoonist and illustrator, her work having appeared regularly in all the national broadsheets, and in books by Kingsley Amis, Miles Kington, Gerald Durrell, John Michell and others.  She also found time to write the authoritative study of Britain’s mystery big cats – the panther- and puma-like creatures regularly spotted in our countryside, not least in Dorset.

Rodden the Wind from the Sea by Merrily Harpur

Rodden the Wind from the Sea by Merrily Harpur

However she has always been a secret painter of landscapes, and upon moving to this county fell hopelessly in love with its beauties and surprises – the unexpected changes of angle and perspective that West Dorset offers with each half mile travelled.  She paints en plein air or, more accurately, in situ – sitting in the car, enjoying the scent of turpentine and listening to Radio 3. If you spot a mossy, mud-bespattered car in an unlikely corner of a field or lane, this could be her – probably paint-bespattered – attempting to conjure up, in paint, the genius loci – the particular magic of our place.

She now lives and paints in Cattistock, where in 2013 she inaugurated the Fox Festival, and wrote the libretto for Nick Morris’s acclaimed oratorio The Fox That Walked on Water.

Merrily’s work will be on view from 16 January 2017 – 1 April 2017 in the museum’s Tea Room, and it will be FREE to come and view. Her work will be for sale during the exhibition.

Related Links:

Nautilus Exhibition at the Dorset County Museum extended to 30 May 2017

Nautilus: Beautiful Survivor - 500 million years of evolutionary

Book: Nautilus: Beautiful Survivor – 500 million years of evolutionary by Wolfgang Grulke

Dorset County Museum’s spotlight exhibition ‘Nautilus: Beautiful Survivor – 500 million years of evolutionary history’ based on the book by Wolfgang Grulke has been extended until the end of May this year to enable even more people to come and enjoy it.

This exhibition showing many of the cultural objects, fossils, shells and artefacts featured in the book, celebrates the long history of Nautilus, its role in human culture and the realities of its life today.

Wolfgang Grulke and his collection of Ammonites

Wolfgang Grulke

Wolfgang said “The Chambered Nautilus is one of the oldest living things on our planet. Since the dawn of civilisation its form has inspired artists, designers and architects. Nautilus has survived whatever the world has thrown at it for more than 500 million years, persisting even as dinosaurs and many other life forms vanished. Now, however, some believe it could become extinct within a generation.  We are donating 100% of the proceeds of this book to Nautilus research and we hope that one of the projects will help find this rarest of animals and film it for the first time.”

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Related Links:

Geology Revealed: What is a species? The controversy continues; but does it matter? By Dr John Whicher

What is a species?  The controversy continues;  but does it matter? On Wednesday 11 January  at 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm). Come and join us for an interesting talk by Dr John Whicher.

The species is a fundamental concept of biology. It underpins the classification of organisms, our views on evolution and our measures of biodiversity. Research in many fields depends upon general agreement about what a species is. Darwin said: `No one definition has satisfied all naturalists; yet every naturalist knows vaguely what he means when he speaks of a species.’ It is therefore disappointing that there are more species concepts in use today than at any point in the past century, and the consensus in zoology about the Biological Species Concept has begun to unravel. Different species concepts impose different interpretations on the biological world which have important practical consequences.

Dr John Whicher is a retired professor of molecular pathology and experimental cancer research. His research interests were in the mechanism and consequences of the acute phase response. He is a fellow of the Geological Society, a member of the Geologists Association and an author of papers on Dorset geology and palaeontology.

Wednesday 11 January 2017 at 7.00pm (The Museum doors open at 6.30pm). The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Carols, Songs and Dancing: The Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy’s Family

Among the fine collection of Hardy items in the Dorset County Museum, one of the most interesting is the music-book which belonged to his father and grandfather.  This is a hand-written book of carols, hymns, ballads and songs which had been passed down orally and collected over the generations, and the pages sewn together in this simple homemade book.

Here are two carols from the family carol book used for ‘Going the Rounds’ at Christmas, when the Mellstock Quire visited the cottages around Bockhampton and Stinsford to sing carols to the locals. If you’re musical, you might have a go at playing them!

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

hark-the-herald-angels-sing_1Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Thomas Hardy’s grandfather, father and other relatives played violins and cellos in the West Gallery church choirs at Stinsford and Puddletown until about 1835-40, when the church replaced the instrumentalists with barrel organs.

On Christmas Eve, the tradition was for these singers and players to walk through the dark night, lit only by lanterns, carrying their music and instruments, to sing and play carols at all the cottages and houses.

From these family musicians, the young Thomas inherited a love of music.  As a boy, he was taught to tune and play the fiddle by his father, with whom he played at parties and weddings.  He later drew on the family memories of the choir in Under the Greenwood Tree:

Chapter 4: GOING THE ROUNDS

Shortly after ten o’clock the singing-boys arrived at the tranter’s house, which was invariably the place of meeting, and preparations were made for the start. The older men and musicians wore thick coats, with stiff perpendicular collars, and coloured handkerchiefs wound round and round the neck till the end came to hand, which they just showed their ears and noses, like people looking over a wall. The remainder, stalwart ruddy men and boys, were dressed mainly in snow-white smock-frocks, embroidered upon the shoulders and breasts, in ornamental forms of hearts, diamonds, and zigzags. The cider-mug was emptied for the ninth time, the music-books were arranged, and the pieces finally decided upon. The boys in the meantime put the old horn-lanterns in order, cut candles into short lengths to fit the lanterns; and, a thin fleece of snow having fallen since the early part of the evening, those who had no leggings went to the stable and wound wisps of hay round their ankles to keep the insidious flakes from the interior of their boots.

……………….

 

Just before the clock struck twelve they lighted the lanterns and started. The moon, in her third quarter, had risen since the snowstorm; but the dense accumulation of snow-cloud weakened her power to a faint twilight, which was rather pervasive of the landscape than traceable to the sky. The breeze had gone down, and the rustle of their feet and tones of their speech echoed with an alert rebound from every post, boundary-stone, and ancient wall they passed, even where the distance of the echo’s origin was less than a few yards. Beyond their own slight noises nothing was to be heard, save the occasional bark of foxes in the direction of Yalbury Wood, or the brush of a rabbit among the grass now and then, as it scampered out of their way.”

Helen Gibson
Honorary Curator of the Thomas Hardy Archive and Collection

Related Links:

Lunch Time Concert – Lute and classical guitar with guitarist Kevin Avebury

Kevin Avebury

Kevin Avebury

On Thursday 8 December 2016 at 1.00pm. Kevin Avebury presents a programme tracing Christmastide music from medieval times to the present day on lute and classical guitar.

Kevin studied guitar, lute, piano, composition and figured bass at the Royal College of Music.  His specialisation is Continuo realisation (keyboard and fretboard), Renaissance and Baroque music history and compositional techniques.

He has performed concerts as a soloist, in duos, trios and larger ensembles.  He has worked with vocal soloists, small vocal and instrumental ensembles, Early Opera companies, cafes, restaurants, street events, festivals and pubs!

Kevin is also lead guitarist in the Dorchester based rock band Margot Escargot, which is recording in London this December for an EP release early in 2017.

The concert will take place in the Museum’s Victorian Hall on Thursday 8 December 2016 at 1.00pm. This lunch time concert is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to help cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Meet your favourite Sci-Fi and Superhero characters at the Dorset County Museum

StormtroopersIt’s nearly time for Dorchester Christmas Cracker night. The event that officially kicks off Christmas in the County town takes place this year on Thursday 8 December from 5.00pm.

This year by popular demand, everyone’s favourite Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie and TV characters will be back at Dorset County Museum. Come along to see a host of characters from the Superheroes from the Marvel Universe, Star Wars, Doctor Who and many more….

Delicious mulled wine and mince pies will be available to buy and the Tea Room will be open for tasty snacks and refreshments.  A browse in the Museum shop will reveal a wide range of gift ideas including toys, games, books and jewellery.  The current exhibition Speed to the West: A Nostalgic Journey an exhibition of 20th Century Railway Posters will be on display, with prints and railway memorabilia on sale in the shop for just a few more weeks – another fantastic opportunity to pick up a very special Christmas present.

scifi-and-superheros-at-dorset-county-museumEntry to the Museum on Cracker Night is FREE and everyone is welcome. All the galleries will be open on the night.

For further information and other forthcoming events contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Travellers’ Tales: Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim: On foot across Europe to Rome by Harry Bucknall

Like a Tramp Like a Pilgrim On foot across Europe to Rome by Harry  Bucknall

Like a Tramp Like a Pilgrim On foot across Europe to Rome by Harry Bucknall

Thursday 17th November 2016 at 7.00pm. Come and join us for an interesting talk in our Travellers’ Tales series Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim: On foot across Europe to Rome by Harry Bucknall

Watching in disbelief as his computer was struck by lightning in 2007, Harry Bucknall had no idea that the subsequent trail of events would lead him to Rome – five years later, on foot.

Following the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim path that dates back nearly two thousand years, Harry walks through England, France, Switzerland and Italy on a historical backcloth that is liberally coloured with tales of angels and saints, emperors and kings and war and revolution.  He uncovers a little known route that leads him through villages, towns and cities over rivers and mountains across Europe to the heart of the Eternal City, Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim is a joyous journey of Elizabethan proportion filled with anecdote, adventure and mishap as Harry observes the changing landscape around him, the people he meets, the places he stays and his assorted fellow pilgrims along the way.

Copies of Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim (published by Bloomsbury) will be available to buy on the night at the Museum.  Harry will be pleased to sign copies.

Thursday 17th November 2016 at 7.00pm (The Museum doors open at 6.30pm). The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Lunch Time Concert – Dorchester Piano Quartet

Dorchester Piano QuartetOn Thursday 24th November 2016 at 1.00pm, the Dorchester Piano Quartet will be playing a lunchtime concert at Dorset County Museum.

Jennifer Curiel (violin), Pasha Willis (viola), Sally Flann (cello), Peter Oakes (piano) make up the Dorchester Piano Quartet.

The Dorchester Piano Trio was formed when Russell Dawson (violin) and Peter Oakes (piano) played a duo concert and Sally Flann, who was in the audience, introduced herself as a cellist who would be pleased to play Trios. After around ten years of the Dorchester Piano Trio, Russell stood down and Jenny Curiel (violin) and Pasha Willis (viola) joined Sally and Peter to form the Dorchester Piano Quartet.

As a Trio or Quartet we often include solo sonatas, and the November concert includes the wonderful Sonatina for violin and piano by Dvorak. It combines the Czech composer’s love of folk melody with his feeling for American music (he was Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York from 1892 to 1895.)

The Fauré Piano Quartet sits historically somewhere between the music of Franck and Ravel: it has all the ‘French’ qualities of clarity, beauty and restraint, while being a wonderful concert piece, full of melody, rich harmony and drama.

Thursday 24th November 2016 at 1.00pm. The performance is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

[IMPORTANT NOTICE]

Please note the museum will be temporarily closed from 10am to 12pm on the 24 November 2016. However it will be reopened for afternoon in time for the Dorchester Piano Quartet Lunchtime Concert as published