Archaeology Unearthed: Roman Glass – abundant, bright and beautiful by Dr Denise Allen

Bucknowle Farm Roman Glass Jug - Mark North -DCM © 2017

Bucknowle Farm Roman Glass Jug – Mark North -DCM © 2017

Glass is a versatile and mysterious material – its transformation from basic and cheap ingredients to a clear, enduring and malleable substance is a sort of alchemy.

Come and join us for this interesting talk as Dr Denise Allen explores how the Romans exploited its properties to the full, used it in all sorts of ways, and introduced it to all corners of the Mediterranean world.

Denise Allen began working life as an excavating archaeologist, completed a PhD in Roman Glass at Cardiff University in 1983 and has continued with the specialism ever since. She is Honorary Secretary of the Association for the History of Glass. She was Director of Andante Travels for 17 years, organising archaeological tours all around the world, and led many tours herself. Last year she left the office, moved to Exeter and now works as a freelance guide and lecturer.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Friday 7 April 2017 in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

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

Festival of Archaeology at the Dorset County Museum

Festival of ArchaeologyThe Festival of Archaeology, coordinated yearly by the Council for British Archaeology, showcases the very best of British archaeology by presenting special events hosted by museums, heritage organisations, universities, societies and community archaeologists all over the UK.

As our contribution to this year’s festival, Dorset County Museum will host a variety of events including Viking re-enactments and a rare opportunity to tour the Museum’s archaeology store.  “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to see a whole range of artefacts that aren’t normally on display,“ said Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum.  “In the past these tours completely sold out as so many people were interested in coming along – we hope it will be even more popular this year.“

Viking at the Dorset County Museum

Vikings will be invading the museum during the festival

Visitors to the museum can also see the newly refurbished Ancient Dorset gallery which tells the fascinating story of the past of the ancient peoples living in this county, from the Lower Palaeolithic Age 3 million years ago to 1066AD. With a brand new display of the recently discovered mass Viking burial discovered on the Ridgeway outside Weymouth.

Events at the Museum:

  • Tuesday 19 and 26th July – Tour of the archaeology store in All Saint’s Church, High East Street, Dorchester.  See behind the scenes and experience some of the millions of objects we don’t have space to normally display. Tours will commence from the Museum at: 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Places limited, booking is essential. Normal admission prices apply.
  • Wedneday 20 July – Archaeology Day will be held at the Museum with activities throughout the day, including displays, hands on archaeology and meet the experts, mini-talks and the finds ID surgery. Bring in objects you have found – coins, buckles, pottery, anything! Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme will be able to explain what they are. The Finds ID Surgery is at 10.30am and 2pm, and you will need to book. All other activities will happen through the day and you can just drop in. Normal admission prices apply.
  • Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July – History is being brought to life as the Vikings invade Dorset County Museum! Come and meet the Vikings from 11am until 4pm. Witness hand to hand   combat, visit craftspeople to find out how chain mail and fishing nets were made, watch Norse cooking demonstrations, mint a Viking coin and listen to exciting Viking sagas full of adventure. Normal admission prices apply.
  • Wednesday 27 July – Roman Dorchester a rare chance to visit inside one of the best-preserved Roman Town Houses in Britain and see the beautiful mosaic floors at close range. Tours will commence from the Dorset County Museum at: 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Places limited, booking is essential. Normal admission prices apply.
Dorchester Roman Town House

Dorchester Roman Town House

  • Saturday 30 July Family Archaeology Day will be held at the Museum with activities throughout the day suitable for younger visitors. Hands on activities and trails, and meet some archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology and Context One Archaeological Services.  Find out about bones and how archaeologists use new technology with displays and mini-talks for the family.  Normal admission prices apply.

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

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Museum visited by over 2,000 school children in 2015

School Group at Dorset County Museum -® Jonathan North  -DCM 2015

This year Dorset County Museum has been visited by 56 schools – that’s more than 2,000 school children through the front doors.

Many of these children are local, but the museum also attracts schools from further afield – this year we’ve even had a class from Germany, and 10 pupils all the way from Singapore!

Emma Talbot, Head of Education and Learning at the Museum says, “It is fabulous to see so many children actively engaging with Dorset’s past. We offer a programme for schools that is creative, fun and hands on as well as being linked to the national curriculum. Our tour guides are all volunteers and do an amazing job making history come alive for the children. We couldn’t offer this service without them and I can’t thank them enough.”

Class Teacher, Sasha Jones of Milborne St Andrew First School commented after a recent visit “The assistance we received from all staff and volunteers was excellent. The activities available were perfectly in line with what we have been learning, and the children had a fantastic day and learnt a lot which resulted in some beautiful writing. It was a great opportunity for the children to see and touch real Iron Age and Roman artefacts – and they loved eating their lunch on a real Roman mosaic too!”

With a brand new Ancient Dorset Gallery, Dorset County Museum can offer the following educational sessions: Dinosaurs & Fossils; Archaeology; Stone Age to Iron Age; Roman Dorset; a visit to The Roman Town House. All guides are knowledgeable and experienced, and children can handle objects.

If you’d like to find out more or book a session in 2016 for your school, contact Emma Talbot on 01305 756832, or email her at education@dorsetcountymuseum.org or visit the Dorset County Museum website for more details www.dorsetcountymuseum.org/education

Dorset County Museum to host Sci-Fi characters and Father Christmas on Cracker Night

Dorchester Christmas CrackerIt’s nearly time for Cracker Night again in Dorchester. The event that officially kicks off Christmas in the County town takes place this year on Thursday 3rd December from 5.00pm.

This year by popular demand, everyone’s favourite science fiction characters will be back at Dorset County Museum. Come along to see characters from the Star Wars films and Dr Who. Bring the children to see Father Christmas in his grotto – every child will receive a bag of goodies in return for a small donation.

Pliosaur meets Darth Vader

Delicious mulled wine and mince pies will be available to buy in the Victorian Gallery, 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 St Ives and British Modernism: the George & Ann Dannatt Collection will be on display in the exhibition gallery, and prints of some of the works will be for sale – another fantastic opportunity to pick up a very special Christmas present.

Entry to the Museum on Cracker Night is FREE and everyone is welcome. The ground floor 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

Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol 136 – 2015

Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Volume 136 - 2015Remarkable archaeological finds, controversy over the latest film version of Far from the Madding Crowd and ‘the world’s biggest bite’ marine reptile exhibit are revealed in the new style annual just published by the Dorset County Museum.

Read about the pliosaur, the Museum’s latest marine reptile fossil exhibit, a fearsome creature which had the largest bite in the world. Experts discuss new film version of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Finds from the excavations at the Durotriges village excavations at Winterbourne Kingston and the major Roman villa excavation at Druce farm are detailed. Plus over twenty other major articles.

“We are really excited about the latest volume which looks great and has lots of fascinating articles,” says Dr Paul Lashmar, the journal’s editor. “These are scholarly papers but we pride ourselves that they are very readable so there is something in every edition to delight the casual reader or visitor to Dorset.”

Weymouth Bay Pliosaur Skull © DCM

Weymouth Bay Pliosaur Skull © DCM

The new volume features original line drawings on the cover that were used to illustrate the Cornhill Magazine serialisation of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd in 1874.

“With its classic yet unique British countryside and a long and enthralling history Dorset is a remarkable county. Home too many great writers and artists Dorset can also boast the best prehistoric landscape in Britain and the geological wonders of the Jurassic Coast. The annual, the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society 2015 celebrates everything that is fascinating and important about Dorset.in the last year,” says Dr Lashmar.

Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

While Dorset inspires many books, papers and articles, only Proceedings publishes with regard to academic scholarship. From its home at the Dorset County Museum Proceedings has published for 136 years a remarkable annual collection of scholarly papers, monographs and reports from a wide range of disciplines in the furtherance of knowledge and understanding.

CONTENTS:

PAPERS

  • What Tess meant to Hardy, and why Keith Wilson
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) Directed By Thomas Vinterberg. A review Paul J. Niemeyer
  • How to get a head in Dorset County Museum: The tailless tale of Pliosaurus kevani Jenny Cripps
  • The environmental quality of the Sherford River (Dorset) assessed with macroinvertebrate data – Patrick D. Armitage, J.A.B. Bass & Adrianna Hawczak
  • Underwater light-trapping of mobile invertebrates in the Fleet lagoon, Dorset – Nina Wills, J. A. B. Bass & J. I. Jones
  • ‘Gone for a Burton’: Thomas Arthur Burton (1842-1936), musician & composer, and his family (from Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Cotswolds, Hampshire & Dorset) – Hugh S. Torrens
  • Mrs Alicia Moore, dedicatee of Henry Rowland Brown’s 1859 guidebook Beauties of Lyme Regis – Michael A. Taylor
  • A token found at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, apparently associated with Mary Anning (1799–1847), fossil collector – Michael A. Taylor & Richard Bull
  • The Dorset Hundreds from the early nineteenth century – J. W. Hart

ARCHAEOLOGY

  • Dorset Archaeology in 2014
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme 2014 – Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen
  • Preston: Bowleaze Cove Romano-British building – Iain Hewitt And Grace Jones
  • Observations at Church Street, Christchurch – Michael Heaton with a contribution from Professor Malcolm Thurlby
  • Interim Report: Druce Farm Roman villa, Puddletown – Lilian Ladle And Andrew Morgan
  • Excavation of a Romano-British well at Farnham – Martin Green, Mark Maltby & Rob Perrin
  • Mortlake and Grooved Ware pottery associated with worked stone in a pit at Lambert’s Hill, Winterbourne Abbas, Dorset – Richard Tabor, With A Contribution By Cheryl Green
  • The Old Manor, Stratton – Rosemary Maw
  • The Thompson’s clay canal – A clay-working enterprise near Lytchett Bay, Poole in the 1830s – Bryan Gambier, Alan Hawkins And Keith Jarvis
  • Witchampton chess pieces – Gill Vickery
  • The Durotriges Project, Phase Two: an interim statement Miles Russell, Paul Cheetham, Damian Evans,Karina Gerdau-Radonic, Ellen Hambleton, Iain Hewitt, Harry Manley, Nivien Speith and Martin Smith
  • The Development of Properties inside the southern defences of Roman Durnovaria: an excavation at Charles Street, Dorchester – Andrew B. Powell with Contributions From Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy, Rachael Seager Smith & J.M. Mills

Proceedings are available from the Museum Shop Price £20.00. However if you become a member of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society the price is £15.00. For more details about membership contact the the membership secretary on 01305 756829 or visit the website for more details www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

For further information and enquires about the Proceedings contact the editor Dr. Paul Lashmar on 01305 262735

Local schools visit Druce Farm Roman Villa

Children excavating on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

Children excavating on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

During the summer of 2015, more than 166 primary school children plus 24 teaching staff visited Dorset’s new Roman villa at Druce Farm near Puddletown. The East Dorset Antiquarian Society (EDAS), led by Site Director Lilian Ladle, is into its fourth and final year exploring the site. Both EDAS and the landowners, Tom and Ann Ridout, believed this was the perfect opportunity to share the villa with the community and encourage our archaeologists of the future.

 

Discovering Roman Tiling © EDAS 2015

Discovering Roman Tiling © EDAS 2015

Sue Cullinane from EDAS devised a special programme for schools including an introductory talk, a guided tour of the excavations, a chance to examine some of the recent artefacts found, and an opportunity to undertake practical activities including “finds” washing and trowelling in newly-opened trenches. Sue worked closely with Emma Talbot, the Education Officer of Dorset County Museum, to organise the visits and she also designed display boards and the finds cabinet. During 2015, there were visits from Yeovil Park School, Weymouth Home Educators, Swanage St. Mary’s Primary, Piddle Valley Primary and the Yeovil Home Educators. In addition members of the Dorset County Museum branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) attended a short field school.

Children washing finds on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

Children washing finds on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

All the young guests were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the experience. The teachers were delighted that EDAS has been able to offer this unique opportunity to pupils to visit a real archaeology site and experience practical archaeology.

EDAS would like to thank the volunteers: Sue Cullinane, Bryan Popple, Geoff Taylor, Barbara Milburn, Pam Norris and Anita Hicks who made the on-site activities both informative and enjoyable – as well as all the teachers who enthusiastically supported this opportunity. Special thanks to all the young people who made this such a rewarding experience for everyone.

Andrew Morgan
EDAS Chairman


There is a chance to visit Druce Farm Roman Villa Excavation on a special ‘Open Day‘ on Saturday 5th September from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Entry to the site is FREE, but a donation of £3.00 is suggested, to help towards the publication of this important site

For more details details please visit: www.dorset-archaeology.org.uk

N.B Please note that there is a one mile walk from the car park and there are no toilet facilities. The excavation is on a working farm, SORRY, NO DOGS ALLOWED

Visit to Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

On the Friday 3rd July at  6.30 pm there will be a last chance to see final season of excavation at this amazingly well-preserved Roman villa, where three large ranges of buildings are set within a courtyard enclosure. High-class finds suggest wealthy owners living here from the 1st century AD and who continued to inhabit the site for several centuries after the Romans left Britain.

Driving instructions below. There is ample parking in the meadow however the site is a good 20 minute walk from the car park. Stout shoes are recommended and be aware that the site itself is very uneven due to the excavations.

Meet in the car parking meadow at 6.30 pm for the walk up to the site

We will ask for voluntary donations to the excavation to help fund full academic publication

This is a working farm and the land owner asks that visitors leave their dogs at home (Sorry!)


How to get there: –

  • From Dorchester
    Follow the A35 East towards Bere Regis/ Poole/Bournemouth for about 3.9 miles,
    Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford/Milborne St Andrew/Piddlehinton,
    At the roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142,
  • From Poole
    Follow the A35 West towards Bere Regis/ Puddletown/Dorchester for 1.1 miles,
    Continue on through one roundabout on the A35 for about 9.3 miles,
    At next roundabout take 2nd exit and continue along the A35 for 6 miles,
    Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford, Piddlehinton, Puddletown,
    At the roundabout take the 3rd exit on to the A354,

At the next roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142, After about 1 mile turn right just before a sharp left bend (there is a triangle of grass at junction, Note that there is also a lane which you have to cross before entering farms driveway) and Druce Farm is directly ahead.

Drive through the gateway (Druce Farmhouse is on your right), then pass some large Victorian cottages, pass the cart shed on your left, follow the farm track with a modern cottage on your right. The track forks – take the left hand track and you will see several cars in the field.

Drive carefully – Be aware that small children may be playing around the houses and that farm machinery may be about

Archaeology Fieldwalking at Hazelbury Bryan with YAC

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, the Dorchester Branch of the Young Archaeologists Club did a fieldwalk on farmland approximately 1km north east of Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset. Permission with the landowner was very kindly arranged for us by a local metal detectorist, Richard Higham.

Field Walking with Young Archaeologists Club

Field Walking with Young Archaeologists Club

Sue and Bryan, YAC volunteers, met the members at 10.15 in Hazelbury Bryan, and Richard led us through a maze of winding lanes to the field. When we arrived on site at 10.30am, we decided to scour the north east corner of the very large field. The detectorists were already working at the western end.

Young Archaeologists cleaning their finds in the Dorset County Museum

Young Archaeologists cleaning their finds in the Dorset County Museum

It was soon obvious that there were large amounts of pottery and other artefacts scattered around the field and Young Archaeologists and parents alike were soon eagerly hunting.
By the end of the morning, we had gathered lots of post-medieval pottery and a few surprises… We’re looking forward to displaying our finds in the Dorset County Museum.

Report by Sue Cullinane

For more information about joining The Dorchester Branch – Young Archaeologists’ Club visit www.dorsetcountymuseum.org/YAC

Stolen Images – Pagan Symbolism and Christianity by Peter Knight

Stolen Images - Pagan Symbolism and Christianity by Peter Knight

Stolen Images – Pagan Symbolism and Christianity by Peter Knight

Peter Knight lives in Wiltshire and is the author of eight books on ancient and sacred sites around the world. He is well-known for his talks, workshops and field trips which allow people to connect in new ways with the special sites they visit.

Peter returns to the Museum to talk about his major book ‘Stolen Images – Pagan Symbolism and Christianity. In his lecture, Peter will discuss how ancient Pagan symbols and myths were absorbed into Christianity to usurp pre-Christian belief systems, as well as to encapsulate archetypal power for the benefit of the new religion. Most Christian icons can be traced back to an older origin, and many churches were also sited on ancient holy places. The Church also took over existing Pagan festivals and turned them into saint’s days. This fascinating talk will link Egyptian, Norse, Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Celtic and other cultures to the new religion – you will be surprised at what you find! For instance, he will show how 15 ancient sun gods share the Jesus’ attributes of both a birthday on Dec 25th and being born to a virgin mother!

Copies of Peter’s book will be available on the night. The talk starts at 7.30pm on Friday 22nd May and the doors will be open from 7.00pm. All are welcome to attend and entry is FREE although donations are encouraged.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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