Museum of Archaeology, Durham University

Museum of Archaeology, Durham University To ensure the safety and well-being of staff and visitors, Durham University’s museums, galleries and Botanic Garden will remain closed until early 2021.
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Operating as usual

Our ‘object of the week’ is this unusual Roman with a face vessel. The exact purpose of this type of vessel is unknown: ...
25/09/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this unusual Roman with a face vessel. The exact purpose of this type of vessel is unknown: some have been found at ritual sites, but others have been found in domestic contexts. It is made from Crambeck greyware, with a white slip and red paint decoration on the face flagon. The details that have been emphasised on the face are the eyes, eyebrows and mouth. The body is globular shaped with painted line decoration in red. The faces portrayed on these vessels are all individual and distinct. We do not know if they are intended to represent gods or real people who lived in Roman Britain.

The vessel was excavated from Binchester Roman fort. The Crambeck pottery industry started in the late third century and continued into the fourth century. This was unusual, as at the end of the Roman period Samian imports were decreasing and British producers were producing less, however, Crambeck increased production.

This object is on display in the Museum of Archaeology

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #roman #romanvessel #crambeck #facevessel #archaeologicalpottery #archaeology #binchesterromanfort #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘object of the week’ is this Venetian/Dutch decorative goblet stem fragment. This fragment dates from the 17th centu...
18/09/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this Venetian/Dutch decorative goblet stem fragment. This fragment dates from the 17th century, thought to be from a goblet or wine glass. It is high quality crystal glass with a globular hollow body and two scroll decorated handles, with trailed blue decoration with indentations. It is broken at the point which would have connected it to the bowl and the stem of the glass.

The glass that this stem fragment would have been part of would have had a very thin and long stem. Decorative features and intricate glass-work were popular with Venetian glass, however by 1700, the Dutch were also producing goblets with emphasis upon the decorated stem rather than the bowl (Henkes 1994; 266).

This stem fragment was found during excavations at Durham Cathedral.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #postmedieval #venetianglass #gobletstem #17thcentury #17thcenturyglass #archaeology #archaeologicalglass #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

The Learning Team left us a fantastic joke when we came into work today, so we thought we would share it with you! We ha...
14/09/2020

The Learning Team left us a fantastic joke when we came into work today, so we thought we would share it with you!

We have one of the most complete naval diplomas in the UK (awarded to those who served 26 years in the Roman Fleet and were honourably discharged) - The Lanchester Diploma - which is on display in the Museum of Archaeology. This might help you to guess and understand the answer!

🎶🎤📜🎤🎶

#museumofarchaeology #museumofarchaeologydurham #diploma #romandiploma #navaldiploma #palomafaith #archaeology #archaeologypuns #archaeologyjoke #museumjoke #historyjokes #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome

Our ‘object of the week’ is this hoard of 18 silver Roman coins. They date to the period AD 81-161 and include a variety...
11/09/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this hoard of 18 silver Roman coins. They date to the period AD 81-161 and include a variety of emperors:

• 1 Domitian coin (AD 81-96)
• 2 Trajan coins (AD 98-117)
• 3 Hadrian coins (AD 117-38)
• 3 Vibia Sabina coins (AD 83-136/137)
• 1 Antoninus Pius coin (AD 138-161)
• 8 coins where the Emperor is illegible.

This hoard was found by a metal detectorist and declared Treasure.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #roman #romanhoard #romancoins #domitian #trajan #hadrian #vibiasabina #antoninuspius #archaeology #metaldetectorist #treasure #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘object of the week’ is this Neolithic cup and ring stone. There are markings carved into the surface of the stone, ...
04/09/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this Neolithic cup and ring stone. There are markings carved into the surface of the stone, known as ‘cup and ring marks’. Designs vary from stone to stone, but the basic structure of a concave circular depression is known as a ‘cup’, and lines in a circle often surrounding the cup are known as ‘rings’.

Cup and ring stones are forms of prehistoric art, and can be found across Europe. They are one of the most common surviving types of prehistoric art, although their function or purpose is unclear, and extensively debated.

This stone was found at Witton Gilbert, near Durham, and is on display in the Museum of Archaeology.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #prehistoric #cupandringstone #prehistoricart #prehistory #archaeology #archaeologicalart #workedstone #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘object of the week’ is this post-medieval domino, made from worked bone. There are roughly made holes on either sid...
28/08/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this post-medieval domino, made from worked bone. There are roughly made holes on either side of the domino, divided by a line, with eight (8) holes on one side and six (6) holes on the other. The holes and line are outlined in red and the back of the domino is plain.

The earliest mention of dominoes is from the Song dynasty in China, found in the text ‘Former Events in Wulin’ by Zhou Mi (1232–1298). Modern dominoes first appeared in Italy during the 18th century, but how Chinese dominoes developed into the modern game is unknown. It is suggested in ‘Encyclopaedia of Play in Today’s Society’, written by Rodney Carlisle, that Italian missionaries in China may have brought the game to Europe. The name ‘domino’ most likely derives from the resemblance to a kind of carnival costume worn during the Venetian Carnival, often consisting of a black-hooded robe and a white mask.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #postmedieval #domino #dominoes #gamingpiece #archaeology #archaeologicalgamingpiece #workedbone #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

After a great few days in the Museum of Archaeology taking photographs of the objects, it’s time to start editing and up...
19/08/2020

After a great few days in the Museum of Archaeology taking photographs of the objects, it’s time to start editing and uploading some of them!

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #archaeology #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversity #durhamuniversitymuseums #museumfromhome

Our ‘object of the week’ is this thistle-shaped medieval cauldron, with a spherical body and a wide flange rim. It has t...
14/08/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this thistle-shaped medieval cauldron, with a spherical body and a wide flange rim. It has three legs, similar to a tripod, and has two large handles for carrying the cauldron.

For most people living in Norman and Medieval Durham, domestic life focussed on the hearth. Food was cooked over a fire in pots or metal cauldrons like this, and served on bread trenchers or wooden platters, whilst drink was stored and served in pottery jugs.

The cauldron was found in the 1960s, and is currently on display in the Museum of Archaeology

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #medieval #cauldron #medievalcauldron #thistleshapedcauldron #archaeology #archaeologicalcauldron #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

We’re head over heels for our new gallery changes - even our replica homo heidelbergensis agrees! This photograph was ta...
11/08/2020

We’re head over heels for our new gallery changes - even our replica homo heidelbergensis agrees! This photograph was taken while we were mid-way through some of the case redisplays, while many of our objects were receiving a clean before they went back into the cases 💀☠️💀

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #behindthescenes #museumredisplay #newgallery #prehistory #prehistoric #prehistoricdisplay #prehistorydisplay #archaeology #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘object of the week’ is a Post-Medieval 18th century green glass onion bottle. It has a seal that reads ‘S: G: M:’ w...
07/08/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is a Post-Medieval 18th century green glass onion bottle. It has a seal that reads ‘S: G: M:’ which would have been stamped into the glass when it was hot, dating to 1718. This is the neck and partial body of the vessel, with a globular body with a short stout neck. There are some small bubbles and white specks in the fabric of the bottle, and it appears to be quite poorly made, as the thickness of the glass varies between different areas of the vessel, with some stress lines around the neck.

Onion Bottles, or glass onions, were a shape of bottle used during the 17th and 18th centuries. Onion bottles were most commonly used to hold wine, but were also used for other spirits. At the beginning of the 17th century wine bottles were small and thin glassed, making them difficult to store and ship. During the 1630s, privateer turned inventor Sir Kenelm Digby teamed up with James Howell, creating a method of making stronger glass with hotter furnaces. These early onion bottles, usually referred to as "shaft and globe" bottles, evolved into onion bottle shape by the 1670s. This shape gradually evolved to be stouter with a wide base and short neck, reaching its height at the end of the 17th century before becoming elongated during the onset of the 18th century. Onion bottles achieved their dark green or brown colours from iron oxide found within the sand used to make them, which was further darkened by the coal used to heat the furnaces, leaving the bottles almost black in some cases. Collars were applied to the tops for corks to be tied down, and when shipped, they would be laid on their sides to soak the cork and help prevent oxidation of the wine inside. Spirits like brandy were also added to the wine to extend its life when shipping overseas.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #postmedieval #onionbottle #glassonion #18thcentury #18thcenturyglass #archaeology #archaeologicalglass #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

It’s day two working in the Museum of Archaeology to update the gallery, and we’ve got some brand new prehistoric displa...
05/08/2020

It’s day two working in the Museum of Archaeology to update the gallery, and we’ve got some brand new prehistoric displays!

Each acrylic circle represents a different area of the prehistoric collection - the distant past of the Ice Age is yellow, prehistoric European art is in blue and prehistoric Durham is in red.

The second photograph shows what it looked like before!

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #behindthescenes #museumredisplay #newgallery #prehistory #prehistoric #prehistoricdisplay #prehistorydisplay #archaeology #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

04/08/2020

And the cleaning begins!

We’re in the Museum of Archaeology today to begin the cleaning and the redisplay of the gallery for reopening in 2021. After removing the objects out of the first case, we’re giving it a deep clean!

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #behindthescenes #museumcleaning #museumredisplay #deepclean #boomerang #archaeology #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘object of the week’ is this 17th century Bartmann or ‘Bellarmine’ jug. It is ovoid in shape, with a narrow neck and...
31/07/2020

Our ‘object of the week’ is this 17th century Bartmann or ‘Bellarmine’ jug. It is ovoid in shape, with a narrow neck and base, with a salt glaze. It is a Westerwald type, with a complete neck and a partial body, with a complete handle and a face on the neck of the jug. Large quantities of Westerwald stoneware were imported from the early 17th century onwards, and production continues today. The most common imported types are jugs, tankards and chamber pots.

A Bartmann jug (from German ‘bart mann’, meaning ‘bearded man’), also called a Bellarmine jug, is a type of decorated stoneware that was manufactured in Europe throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, especially in the Cologne region. The signature decorative detail was a bearded face mask appearing on the lower neck of the vessel. They were made as jugs, bottles and pitchers in various sizes and for a multitude of uses, including storage of food or drink, decanting wine, and transporting goods. They were manufactured in several locations in England, either by English potters copying German patterns, or by immigrant Germans.

The popular alternative name is ‘Bellarmine’, and is recorded as early as 1634. It is in popular tradition associated with the cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), a fierce opponent of Protestantism in the Low Countries and northern Germany. The reason for the association with Bellarmine is not entirely clear, but was possibly conceived by Dutch and English Protestants to ridicule the cardinal. Another possibility is his anti-alcohol stance.

In the 17th century Bartmann jugs were employed as witch bottles, a popular type of magic item that was filled with various objects, such as human urine, hair and magical charms. These were supposed to benefit their owners or harm their enemies. Bottles with malevolent-looking face masks, typical of the period, were routinely chosen for this very purpose.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #medieval #bellarminejug #bartmannjug #facemaskjug #faceonajug #archaeology #archaeologicalceramic #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

To ensure the safety and well-being of staff and visitors, Durham University’s museums, galleries and Botanic Garden wil...
30/07/2020

To ensure the safety and well-being of staff and visitors, Durham University’s museums, galleries and Botanic Garden will remain closed until early 2021.

We will be using the closed period to carry out improvements at all our sites.

At the Museum of Archaeology this will include:
• Updating the Prehistory displays in the gallery
• Introducing more Ancient Greek objects into our displays, to support schools teaching

We will continue to update our social media platforms regularly with our 'Object of the Week', gallery improvements and other important information. You can also follow us on our Instagram page @archaeology.museum.durham https://www.instagram.com/archaeology.museum.durham/

Our ‘Object of the Week’ is a Roman gold finger-ring with a white glass-paste intaglio, dating from the 3rd century (AD ...
24/07/2020

Our ‘Object of the Week’ is a Roman gold finger-ring with a white glass-paste intaglio, dating from the 3rd century (AD 200-300). The band is incomplete, with foliate openwork and the shoulders of the ring are still remaining. The bezel of the ring is an ovate box setting, with tall sides and slight folds at the rim to hold the intaglio in place, with a flat and undecorated reverse. The box setting appears to be soldered to a flat section on the top of the hoop.

The white intaglio is flat and extremely worn, and is probably made of glass-paste. The icon on the intaglio appears to show a depiction of the Roman goddess, Victory. ‘Opus interrasile’ features on this ring, and is a term used to describe a pierced openwork metalworking technique found from the 3rd century AD. It was developed and popularised in Rome, where metalworkers used it to make arabesques and other similar designs. The technique involves punching holes in metal to simulate lattice patterns, which were often drawn on the metal, and then various tools were used to remove the desired pieces. As such, this ring fits within that broad temporal framework and depictions of Victory are recorded on a number of intaglio finger rings.

This ring was last on display in the temporary exhibition ‘Shattering Perceptions’ in 2018, curated by students on the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies course at Durham University.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #roman #intaglioring #romanring #romanjewellery #goldring #archaeology #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘Object of the Week’ is this curious cast silver, gilded Anglo-Saxon pyramid mount from a sword scabbard. It is inla...
17/07/2020

Our ‘Object of the Week’ is this curious cast silver, gilded Anglo-Saxon pyramid mount from a sword scabbard. It is inlaid with a single garnet and dates to the late 6th or 7th century AD. Pyramid mounts such as this one appear to have been used on scabbards, perhaps to tie the sword onto the scabbard.

The function of pyramid mounts is still uncertain, but it seems likely that they were used to help secure the sword in the scabbard by means of a strap running through the transverse bar on the base of the mount. Straps like this are mentioned in the Viking sagas, where they are called ‘peace bands’. They are relatively uncommon grave finds and such elaborate and expensive decoration would have marked out the weapon as the property of someone of high status.

This mount was found by a metal detectorist, and is on display in the Museum of Archaeology.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #anglosaxon #pyramidmount #pyramidalmount #swordscabbard #scabbardmount #archaeology #metaldetectorfind #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

Our ‘Object of the Week’ is this unusual Roman grey ware triple-cupped vessel. It may have been associated with the Capi...
10/07/2020

Our ‘Object of the Week’ is this unusual Roman grey ware triple-cupped vessel. It may have been associated with the Capitoline Triad of gods: Jupiter, the king of the gods; Juno, the goddess of love and marriage and also Jupiter’s wife and sister; and Jupiter's daughter Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. It was found at Binchester Roman Fort and is on display in the Museum of Archaeology.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museumofarchaeology #objectoftheweek #roman #triplecuppedvessel #triadofgods #jupiter #juno #minerva #romangodsandgoddesses #durhamuniversitycollections #durhamuniversitymuseums #durhamuniversity #museumfromhome #lockdownmuseum

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Archaeology Museum, Palace Green Library, Palace Green
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DH1 3RN

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3th INTERNATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL FILM FESTIVAL OF CASTILLA Y LEÓN (ZAMORA, SPAIN):