Festival of Archaeology at the Dorset County Museum

Festival of Archaeology 2017From 15 to 30 July 2017, The 27th 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 their contribution to this year’s festival, Dorset County Museum will host a variety of events including a rare opportunity to tour the Museum’s archaeology store too seeing archaeology in action with the cleaning and the analysis of the skeleton of the Whitcombe Warrior.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to see a whole range of archaeological 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.“

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

Dorset County Museum has seven events taking place over the two weeks of the Festival:

  • Monday 17 JulyGuided Tours of the Ancient Dorset Gallery (normal admission prices apply).  Tours will start at 11.00am and 2.30pm – no need to book.

 

  • Tuesady 18 July – Store Tours of All Saints Church This is where thousands of archaeology artefacts are stored.  Tours will take place at 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.  Places are limited and must be reserved.  Cost is the normal museum admission price and includes admission to the museum.           Tel:  01305 756827 to book your place.

 

  • Wednesday 19 July – Object Identification Surgery  David Ashford and Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen (Dorset Finds Liaison Officer) will be available from 10am to 1.30pm in the Museum Library ready to help you identify your archaeological finds.  If you have unearthed objects through metal detecting, on the beach or underwater, or just gardening at home, then please bring them along and find out what they are.  Ciorstaidh may ask to borrow your finds and record the details on the finds database so that the information can contribute to our understanding of Dorset’s past. Ciorstaidh works as part of the national Portable Antiquities Scheme which records thousands of items of pottery and flint, metal objects, coins and other finds, dating from prehistory to the post-medieval, each year. The database can be found here: finds.org.uk/database

No admission charge to this surgery, but normal admission prices apply for entry to the museum’s galleries.

Bronze-Axe-Head

  • Friday 21 July – Guided Tours of the Ancient Dorset Gallery (normal admission prices apply).  Tours will start at 11.00am and 2.30pm – no need to book.

 

  • Monday 24 July – Bodies and Bones Normal admission prices apply.  Dr Clare Randall will be cleaning the Whitcombe Warrior plus plenty of activities relating to archaeology in the Ancient Dorset Gallery.   Normal admission prices apply.
Whitcombe Warrior

Whitcombe Warrior

The Whitcombe Warrior is a rare example of a Late Iron Age burial which includes a sword. The Warrior was buried in a small cemetery near Whitcombe, Dorset just before or around the time of the Roman invasion, in a style which is unique to Dorset and is associated with the local tribe, the Durotriges. The Warrior has been on display for many years, and his remains now need some TLC – even things on display in sealed museum cases get dusty over time. We are taking the opportunity during the Festival of Archaeology to give the Warrior a clean, but rather than take him off display to do this, we are going to do the work in the gallery which will give visitors the opportunity to see the remains slightly closer up and discuss them with Dr Clare Randall, who works as an osteoarchaeologist. This is a chance to find out more about the Late Iron Age people of Dorset and their health, disease and burial rituals as well as how we can deduce information from bones. There will be objects of the period to handle and the chance to drop in and chat while the work goes on.

Clare also works with animal remains, and there will be hands on activities for younger visitors which help to explain why the bones of animals are so important to archaeologists and how they are studied. Can you tell the difference between a sheep and a dog if they don’t have their coat on? Can you deduce what an animal might eat or how it lived, just from bits of bones? Could you design an animal from scratch?

  • Tuesday 25 July – Store Tours of All Saints Church This is where thousands of archaeology artefacts are stored.  Tours will take place at 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.  Places are limited and must be reserved.  Cost is the normal museum admission price and includes admission to the museum.  Tel:  01305 756827 to book your place.

 

  • Thursday 27 July – Bodies and Bones Normal admission prices apply.  Dr Clare Randall will be cleaning the Whitcombe Warrior plus plenty of activities relating to archaeology in the Ancient Dorset Gallery. 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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Teapot from the Roof of the World by Duncan Walker

Tibetan Teapot © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum 2017

Tibetan Teapot © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum 2017

On Friday 28 April, starting at 7.30pm, come and join us for an interesting talk by the curator of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum on this amazing artefact.  This talk will cover the history of this amazing teapot and how it came to Bournemouth.  There will also be a brief exploration of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum – including some collection highlights that are on display.

Duncan has been at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum since 2007 and worked with an internationally significant collection which ranges from fine art to ethnographic material from across the globe. His current role involves everything from collections management and research to income generation and exhibitions. Duncan has been ‘in’ museums since 1993 and his previous museums include Portsmouth, Wakefield, Corinium, Nottingham, Devizes, Chippenham and Malmesbury.

Over the course of a year, five leading museums of the Wessex Museums Partnership Dorset County Museum, Poole Museum, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, The Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum will be sharing the story of Wessex in the wider world by showcasing an artefact from their own outstanding collections to the other partner museums.

Wessex has a rich history connecting the region to countries around the world. Our links to Europe and Asia date back to prehistory. An eventful maritime history connects our ports to North America and beyond. Local collectors brought back to Wessex exotic treasures from their journeys of discovery around the world. The story of Wessex is a truly global one.

Until 4 June 2017, the Tibetan Tea Pot will be on display at Dorset County Museum.  Come and listen to Duncan Walker’s talk and find out more about this beautiful and unusual artefact.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Friday 28 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


About the Wessex Spotlight Loan: Tibetan Teapot

This Tibetan teapot was given to our co-Founder Sir Merton Russell-Cotes (1835-1921) by the explorer Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Younghusband (1863-1942). In 1903-4 Younghusband led a controversial military expedition into Tibet. He became interested in Spiritualism, wrote extensively and became involved in the attempts to climb Mount Everest. World travellers themselves, Sir Merton and his wife Annie (1835-1920), collected items related to famous or infamous people, using them to attract visitors to their luxurious hotel, the Royal Bath and what is now the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum.

Archaeology Unearthed: Tears of the Sun: Bronze Age Amber Tracer Beads by Dr. Kate Verkooijen

Amber Bead Necklace

Amber Bead Necklace

In the early and mid-20th century, techniques such as radiocarbon dating did not exist or were still in their infancy. It was difficult, then, to date the various cultural groups in different regions of Europe to see whether they existed at the same time or flourished many centuries apart.

In light of this, the similarities between the amber spacer beads in Britain and Europe have been used for decades as evidence of direct links between the different European cultural groups during the Bronze Age. One of the main conclusions has been that there was a direct link between Early Bronze Age Wessex and Mycenaean Greece, due to the idea of nearly identical amber spacers found in both places.

Despite the prominent role they play in Bronze Age research, the evidence of the spacers both individually and within their original excavation contexts has always been poorly understood. For several decades the corpus was ill-defined and neither described nor presented consistently nor comprehensively. Dr. Kate Verkooijen’s research addresses this problem and, in the light of more recently excavated material and dating evidence, she re-assesses the previous conclusions about direct connections between regions. As well as presenting these results, she will also be bringing along two replicas of British Bronze Age amber spacer sets/’necklaces’.

Dr. Kate Verkooijen grew up in South Dorset and has lived in many places, including Australia. Twenty years ago, she returned to live in this area. Her early interest in archaeology was driven by curiosity about the many Bronze Age barrows on the Ridgeway. In the late 70s, she trained as a field archaeologist with Bill Putnam and worked at several sites across the county, including Culverwell and Hambledon Hill.

She has a BA in Archaeological Illustration (University of Bath/Swindon College of Art) and an MA in Experimental Archaeology (University of Exeter). Her PhD (also from Exeter) focused on the amber spacer beads from the Bronze Age across Europe. Currently, she is an independent archaeology researcher.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Friday 3 March 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

Literary Lives: The Influence of Hardy on the Cornish poet Jack Clemo by Dr. Luke Thompson

Jack Clemo

Jack Clemo. Heather Spears/ Luke Thompson © 2016

Jack Clemo (1916-94) was one of the most unusual poets of the twentieth century, a deaf-blind, syphilitic, self-proclaimed sex mystic who placed his God within the scarred landscape of the china clay mining country in Cornwall. 

But Clemo began his writing life as a novelist, intending his work to be ‘the Christian counterpart’ of Thomas Hardy’s.  Hardy’s influence on Clemo’s debut novel, Wilding Graft, is unmistakable, and it is an influence to which Clemo would return throughout his writing.

On Thursday 3rd November 2016 at 7.30pm (The Museum doors open at 7.00pm).         Dr Luke Thompson will explore Thomas Hardy’s role in Clemo’s life and work, in the poetic and novelistic influences, and in the role of fate and faith, reading from poems such as ‘Wessex and Lyonesse’ ‘Tryphena’ and ‘Max Gate’

Dr Luke Thompson is a writer, editor and academic from Cornwall, who has written the first full-length biography of the poet Jack Clemo, entitled Clay Phoenix (Ally Press, 2016).

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

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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.

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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