Museum Makers: The Vikings are Coming!

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Museum Makers: Cast and Crew during the final dress rehearsal for The Vikings are Coming!

Cast and Crew during the final dress rehearsal for The Vikings are Coming!

Cast and Crew during the final dress rehearsal for The Vikings are Coming!

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Museum Makers: Working on Scene 1 of The Vikings are Coming!

SCENE 1. THE LONGHOUSE

A Viking Longhouse somewhere in Scandinavia. It’s the middle of winter, and provisions are running very low. The Chief is struggling to keep his people’s spirits up, and the snow gets ever deeper.

The Frost hardens, and YMIR, the frost giant, enters the Longhouse and freezes all the inhabitants. Even the chief eventually succumbs to his icy touch. Then ODIN and FREYA, accompanied by the young dragon FIREDANCER, enter the Longhouse. FIREDANCER and FREYA chase out YMIR with heat and warmth, and the chief and all his people are thawed by the dragon’s breath.

The chief and his wife thank ODIN and FREYA, and in the true spirit of VIKING hospitality, offer food and shelter. Unfortunately there is very little food, and the only thing to do is to get the chief’s wife to prepare yet another batch of STONE SOUP!

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Heritage-Lottery-Fund

Museum Makers: The Vikings are Coming!

With funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, the Museum Makers have been using the museum’s archaeology collection and exploring the Ancient Dorset Gallery to find out about the Viking connection with Dorset for the first part of their project.

Our play this year is inspired by the discovery of a large number of decapitated skeletons in a mass grave on the Ridgeway during the construction of the new Dorchester to Weymouth Road.

Archaeologists excavate mass grave of executed Vikings

Archaeologists excavate mass grave of executed Vikings

Who were these strangers that came to such a miserable end on a Dorset Hilltop? Why did they leave the safety of the own country to travel across the North Sea?

The Vikings had a vibrant and distinctive culture, and were renowned for their hospitality and storytelling. We have explored the history of the Vikings, and borrowed some of the heroes and gods of Norse mythology to populate our play. We invite you to come back in time, and to join us on a journey of discovery across the sea in a Longship!

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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

Family Activity: Anglo-Saxon Art

Anglo-Saxon-ArtOn Wednesday 28th October at the Dorset County Museum children are being invited to come along and discover for themselves how the Anglo-Saxons produced their art and what inspired their creativity. There will be an opportunity for children to make and take home their own piece of Anglo-Saxon artwork.

This activity takes place between 10.30am – 12.30pm. There’s no need to book as this activity is FREE thanks to generous sponsorship from Battens Solicitors. Up to two accompanied children aged 4 -12 will be admitted per adult.

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

Spend a Night in the Museum with the Vikings

Viking Sleepover at Dorset County MuseumYes, it’s Halloween, but if you fancy doing something a little bit different on Saturday 31st October with your kids, come and join us for an activity packed night to remember in Dorset County Museum.

There are a whole host of activities planned for the night around a central theme, ‘The Vikings’, to coincide with the opening of our new Ancient Dorset Gallery in early November (this will be open for viewing on the night).

Viking at the Dorset County MuseumNot only will you be able to see real Viking skeletons over 1,000 years old, but Re-enactment Group Hrafnslith will be telling interactive stories of Viking adventure and derring-do, and giving weaponry demonstrations. On top of this, you can help professional artist Darrell Wakelam to build a huge Viking long-boat, and make your own long-boat model to take home with you. Then after hot chocolate and biscuits, nestle down for a night’s sleep before a complimentary light breakfast the following morning in the Museum’s beautiful Victorian Hall. We will be showing the film ‘How to Train your Dragon’ in the morning to end this Viking sleepover. A very popular event in previous years, this really will be a night to remember!

The Sleepover is on Saturday 31st October 2015 6.00pm, until 9.30am the next morning. Tickets are limited to 100, and are on sale now from the Museum shop on High West Street, Dorchester or by telephone on 01305 756827. This event is for children aged 7 – 13, with a maximum of 2 children per adult (who must stay overnight with the children). Ticket prices: children £15, adults £12 to include evening refreshments and light breakfast.

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

 

TV Historian Dan Snow visits Dorset County Museum for his latest TV Series

Dan Snow with Dr. Louise Loe -  Andy Worth/Dorset County Museum © 2015

Dan Snow with Dr. Louise Loe – Andy Worth/Dorset County Museum © 2015

On Wednesday the 19th August 2015, TV Historian, Dan Snow came to the Dorset County Museum to film his latest BBC TV series exploring the age of the Vikings.
This programme will feature the discovery of a mass grave of skeletons in 2009 on Ridgeway Hill during the construction of the Weymouth Relief Road in Dorset. Around 50 skeletons, predominantly of young Scandinavian adult males, were found in an old quarry pit. All had been decapitated. Their heads had been placed in a pile located at one edge of the grave.

Dr. Louise Loe, Head of Heritage Burial Services at Oxford Archaeology discussed with Dan the evidence in identifying these individuals, their origins and even their state of health.
The remains of these Ridgeway Vikings and other important archaeology treasures will be on permanent display in the museum’s newly refurbished Ancient Dorset Gallery. The refurbishment of this gallery has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership Scheme, Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and Alice Ellen Cooper-Dean Charitable Foundation.

The Ancient Dorset gallery at Dorset County Museum will become the visitor centre for the South Dorset Ridgeway. Ultimately it will link in with information panels to be displayed along the ridgeway itself helping visitors explore this area which is rich in heritage. This landscape is considered by many to be as important as Stonehenge and Avebury for revealing the lives of our ancestors. The ridge of high land, running parallel with the coast between Weymouth and Dorchester has been an important place for people for over five thousand years. It has over 1,000 monuments that record the history of the Ridgeway since that time.

Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum said “The archaeology of Dorset is the history of over 400,000 years of human habitation in the county – our collections are nationally significant and cover the entire period from Palaeolithic times to Saxon and Viking Dorset, so it will be especially exciting for the Museum to be featured in this programme which will be screened later this year.”

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Vikings invade the museum!

Viking at the Dorset County MuseumHistory is being brought to life this summer – the Vikings are invading Dorset County Museum! Come and meet the Vikings from 11am until 4pm on Sunday 23rd August. 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.

The Wessex based Hrafnslith (‘Troop of the Raven’) is a regional group belonging to the oldest ‘Dark Ages’ historical re-enactment society, “The Vikings”. They will be recreating an impressive living history encampment within the Museum, showcasing the lifestyles of the Viking and Anglo-Saxon peoples of the 8th – 11th century. They will be on hand to give demonstrations of Viking / Saxon Age crafts, skills, games and pastimes as well as performing combat displays with a variety of weaponry.

As part of the event, the public will have the opportunity to view selected areas of the Museum’s new Ancient Dorset Gallery supported by the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership, before its completion and official opening in the autumn.

Viking at the Dorset County MuseumDirector Dr. Jon Murden said “We welcome families at the Museum, and these events are going to be wonderful for children, really bringing history alive for them. We want to inspire the next generation to help conserve Dorset’s past, and to that end there will be a special offer on our membership price for any families or individuals who sign up at the events, which will give them free entry to the Museum for a whole year.”

With plenty for children to see and do throughout the summer holidays including museum trails and, for dinosaur fans, a gallery dedicated to all things dinosaur which boasts a huge pliosaur skull over 155 million years old, Dorset County Museum is well worth a visit. Find details of our summer events contact the Museum on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Vikings invade the museum!

Vikings-invade-Dorset-County-MuseumHistory is being brought to life this summer – the Vikings are invading Dorset County Museum! Come and meet the Vikings from 10.00am until 4.00pm on Saturday 1st and Sunday 23rd August from 11.00am to 4.00pm. 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.

The Wessex based Hrafnslith (‘Troop of the Raven’) is a regional group belonging to the oldest ‘Dark Ages’ historical re-enactment society, “The Vikings”. They will be recreating an impressive living history encampment within the Museum, showcasing the lifestyles of the Viking and Anglo-Saxon peoples of the 8th – 11th century. They will be on hand to give demonstrations of Viking / Saxon Age crafts, skills, games and pastimes as well as performing combat displays with a variety of weaponry.

Director Dr. Jon Murden said “We welcome families at the Museum, and these events are going to be wonderful for children, really bringing history alive for them. We want to inspire the next generation to help conserve Dorset’s past, and to that end there will be a special offer on our membership price for any families or individuals who sign up at the events, which will give them free entry to the Museum for a whole year.”

With plenty for children to see and do throughout the summer holidays including museum trails and, for dinosaur fans, a gallery dedicated to all things dinosaur which boasts a huge pliosaur skull over 155 million years old, Dorset County Museum is well worth a visit. Find details of our summer events contact the Museum on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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