Museum of Archaeology, Durham University

Museum of Archaeology, Durham University Durham University's Museum of Archaeology tells the story of Durham from prehistory to the present day. Free entry.
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This Roman altar is dedicated to the Roman hero and god Hercules. It is made of a buff sandstone and is inscribed 'DEO H...
11/05/2020

This Roman altar is dedicated to the Roman hero and god Hercules. It is made of a buff sandstone and is inscribed 'DEO HERCU LENTI' (To the God Hercules). It was found at High Rochester Roman Fort, High Rochester, Northumberland in around 1729.

Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek hero Herakles. The Roman adapted Greek myths and the iconography of Herakles into their own myths and legends and gave him Roman characteristics. By the 5th century BC mythological tradition was well established that Hercules had visited Rome during his tenth labour.

Hercules was a popular demi-god, who had many human characteristics and who could suffer like everyone else. Hercules was a kind of super-powered everyman who suffered joy and disappointments and like everyone had good days and bad.

At the bottom of the stone are three x’s which have been painted onto the stone, these were most likely added at the start of the 20th century. They are a reference number that was added to the stone most likely by archaeologist, Francis J. Haverfield (1860-1919). Haverfield was a pioneer in Romano-British archaeology and from 1914 began to publish annual surveys of Roman inscriptions of Britain. He initiated the project to create published resources of the entire corpus inscriptions found in Britain from the Roman period. The first volume, Inscriptions on Stone, was then edited by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright with an addendum by R.S.O. Tomlin. It was first published in 1965, with a new edition in 1995. This stone is Haverfield ###.

#heroesMW #museumofarchaeologydurham #romaninscription

Museum from home highlightThis complete Beaker vessel was found in 1904 in a Late-Neolithic cist in Brandon. The burial ...
08/05/2020

Museum from home highlight

This complete Beaker vessel was found in 1904 in a Late-Neolithic cist in Brandon. The burial was found during quarrying 4 feet below the modern ground level. The cist comprises of four sides and a capstone. The source of the stones was c.1.5 miles to the east of the find. Inside was single burial, a male in a crouched position and a Beaker vessel.

The vessel is flint-gritted ware, with impressed decoration formed of horizontal lines enclosing oblique herringbone patterns on the rim, waist belly and foot. Beaker pottery appears in Britain around 4,400 years ago. The earliest beakers are mainly found in graves or ritual deposits, but they are later also found in domestic sites. This burial is slightly larger than general and the quality of the pottery is of higher.

There is a lot of discussion and debate around Beaker pottery as to whether the spread of Beaker pottery and the associated changes in culture, represents large-scale migration or the exchange of new ideas.

#museumofarchaeologydurham #museums #MuseumFromHome #VisitFromHome

Oriental Museum Durham University
05/05/2020

Oriental Museum Durham University

We are pleased to announce on Wednesday 6 May at 10.00am we will be streaming Little Dragons at Home on Facebook Live.

The session is a mix of songs, exploring museum objects, crafts and rhymes, all from the comfort of home.

For the craft activity you can download and print the teddy bear template from our website – or draw your own. A glue stick, scissors, crayons and coloured paper will be handy too.

https://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/learningonline/under5sonline/

We hope you can join us!

Today, Thursday 30th April, is the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine #MuseumFromHome day! To help you get involved, we have cr...
30/04/2020
4schools : Museum From Home - Durham University

Today, Thursday 30th April, is the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine #MuseumFromHome day! To help you get involved, we have created a range of activities for all ages inspired by our collections! Please share with us your amazing crafty creations using the #DUcollections and #MuseumFromHome and we will share some of your creations in our online gallery. Click the link below to join in the fun! #MuseumFromHome #CultureInQuarantine #DUcollections
https://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/learningonline/

BBC Arts have created a Culture in Quarantine day on the 30th April 2020. If you wish to join in, please use our online resources to help you take part. From creating pieces of art to amazing video clips, be inspired by our collections from the comfort of your own home!

Museum from home highlightThis diamond shaped horse harness pendant is made from copper alloy and decorated with an armo...
24/04/2020

Museum from home highlight

This diamond shaped horse harness pendant is made from copper alloy and decorated with an armorial fleur-de-lys on a blue enamel background.

It was found in Durham city, and was discovered as part of the excavations made at 18-29 Claypath between 2016 and 2017.

Pendants have been used since the 12th century, this example dates to the late 13th to 14th centuries, when heraldry and enamelling begin to appear. Horse pendants were not only used by the nobility and officials to say who they were, but also by those wanting to convey their allegiance to a family, manor or estate.

The pendant would have been suspended from straps either across the horse’s forehead, its breastplate, or the rear strap. Its recovery in Durham city might relate to the proximity of the site to the main thoroughfare into the city, rather than to the occupants of the site, especially given that the object was found mixed in a rubble layer of modern date.

#museumfromhome #MuseumofArchaeology #dumuseums #medieval

Object of the weekThis late-medieval pilgrim’s lead ampulla is part of the Durham River Wear Assemblage, part of which i...
17/04/2020

Object of the week

This late-medieval pilgrim’s lead ampulla is part of the Durham River Wear Assemblage, part of which is on loan to the Museum of Archaeology. It was recovered in May 2017 by underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead during investigations of an important multi-period submerged archaeological site in the River Wear close to the twelfth century Elvet Bridge. It is one of over 13,000 objects Gary has recovered.

The cast object can be dated to circa. 1350 to 1539 AD and is pouch-shaped with an elongated neck and has suspensory loops on either side. The obverse features a decoration in the form of a shallow relief of a W with a crown above, the reverse appears to have some worn relief.

It was slush-cast using a two-piece mould and although there is a slight casting flaw, it would have still served its intended function – as a container to carry holy water home. It is one of three such objects found at the site.

In England, during the late-medieval period, pilgrims visiting centres of religious importance as a means of affirming their faith, seeking divine intervention or for the forgiveness of sins would often purchase souvenirs – usually called signs – these souvenirs were indispensable proof of a completed pilgrimage. Today, based predominantly on new archaeological evidence, there is an assertion that pilgrim signs were being deliberately thrown into a river following a pilgrim’s safe return home as thank-offerings, adherence to superstitious practices or when making a wish or prayer, much as today’s tourists throw coins into fountains. This propitiatory offer is evidenced most clearly by the large number of signs recovered from the Rivers Thames and Stour and also the Mill stream in Salisbury: the three ‘Elvet’ ampullae help strengthen this assertion.

#museumofarchaeology #diveintodurham #garybankhead #archaeology #archaeologist #durham #localhistory #durhamarchaeology

Happy Easter from the Museum of Archaeology.We are all very familiar with the Easter Bunny today, but rabbits are not na...
11/04/2020

Happy Easter from the Museum of Archaeology.

We are all very familiar with the Easter Bunny today, but rabbits are not native to this country. It was the Romans that first brought rabbits to Britain and weren’t established in the wild until the 12th century.

This bunny is on one of our pieces of Roman Samian ware. Samian ware (or terra sigillata) is a type of red-gloss pottery, used by the Romans. It was mostly mass-produced in the province of Gaul and widespread throughout the Roman Empire.

This piece is part of the Oswald-Plique collection of 4500+ fragments of Samian pottery that the museum holds. The pottery formed the personal collection of Felix Oswald, one of the leading early figures in Samian pottery studies. It formed a reference for his Index of Figure Types on Terra Sigillata 1936-7 and in 1958 Stanfield and Simpson also used it as a reference for Central Gaulish Potters. These two works are still two standard source works in this field of research.

#WorldPoetryDay County Durham has been the site of poetry as far back as to the Romans. This tile from Binchester Roman ...
21/03/2020

#WorldPoetryDay County Durham has been the site of poetry as far back as to the Romans. This tile from Binchester Roman Fort had the first line of a metric poem carved onto it before firing.

The Museum of Archaeology ‘Object of the Week’ is this small transparent Revlon 'Touch-and-Glow' makeup bottle, from the...
19/03/2020

The Museum of Archaeology ‘Object of the Week’ is this small transparent Revlon 'Touch-and-Glow' makeup bottle, from the 1950s. It was discovered as part of the archaeological excavations at 18-29 Claypath between 2016 and 2017. There are still remnants of the make up inside the bottle, and this particular shade was called ‘cream beige’. Revlon was founded in New York City in 1932, and their first product was a new type of nail enamel using pigments instead of dyes. The brand soon became a global phenomenon, and is still one of the leading make up companies today.

19/03/2020

Covid-19

Following advice from Public Health England, Durham University is implementing a new set of actions to keep our communities healthy by reducing potential exposure to coronavirus. All of the University's visitor attractions are now closed until further notice.

Thank you for your co-operation with these measures. We are sure you share our concern for the health and well-being of our community. In this rapidly changing situation, you can check the University’s Covid-19 webpage, where we are constantly updating Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We look forward to welcoming you back when it is possible.

17/03/2020
Rochester Altar 3D photography

As part of the #IWasHereDurham exhibition, the Museum of Archaeology student team is 3D-modelling their favourite artefacts. If you could model any artefact in the world what would you choose? #TechTuesday

#IWD2020 is the perfect time to unveil the learning character for the #IWasHereDurham exhibition, Isla the future curato...
08/03/2020

#IWD2020 is the perfect time to unveil the learning character for the #IWasHereDurham exhibition, Isla the future curator! We hope that she will inspire a future generation of women in archaeology and museums, the same way that the women before us have!

These ceramics were made in the medieval period for a very specific purpose. Internet glory to the first person who can ...
02/03/2020

These ceramics were made in the medieval period for a very specific purpose. Internet glory to the first person who can guess what that was! (Hint: the houses in Durham didn’t have plumbing…) #OldStuffDay #Mondaymood

With over 100 people voting on Facebook, the student exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology now has a title - thank you...
26/02/2020

With over 100 people voting on Facebook, the student exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology now has a title - thank you! 🎉 Look out for #IWasHereDurham in future posts to learn more about our journey in making this exhibition.

.#museumsoninsta #museumexhibition #localhistory #localarchaeology #localmuseum #instamuseum #archaeologymuseum #museumofarchaeology

‘Love as I or else I die’. The dramatic statement engraved on the inside of this gold ring was a private message between...
14/02/2020

‘Love as I or else I die’. The dramatic statement engraved on the inside of this gold ring was a private message between lovers. Gold rings with romantic inscriptions were known as ‘posy’ rings. These were often given as gifts between couples in Britain during the Tudor and Stuart periods. This ring was found in County Durham and was probably made around 1650.

#durham #countydurham #durhamhistory #archaeology #britisharchaeology #gold #tudors #stuarts #stuartjewellery #stuartjewelry #jewelry #jewellery #portableantiquitiesscheme #valentines #valentinesday #findsfriday

Image (www.finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/906728) by Durham County Council is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / cropped from original

Another mention of the River Wear Assemblage found by archaeologist Gary Bankhead. You can find many of the objects incl...
10/02/2020
Why was holy object thrown into North-East river which held it secret for centuries?

Another mention of the River Wear Assemblage found by archaeologist Gary Bankhead. You can find many of the objects including the ampulla on display in the Museum of Archaeology at Palace Green Library.

Today’s Object of the Week is one of thousands recovered from the River Wear in Durham. Underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead explains its…

04/02/2020

🎉The votes are in!🎉

The exhibition in June will be I Was Here: Reading hidden messages in Durham's archaeology. Thanks to everyone who voted, and please stay tuned for more insights into our journey throughout the year!

27/01/2020

Round Two

Which of these titles do you like best?

Unwritten: many of our artefacts use symbols rather than words to communicate. Even artefacts with letters have been carved into, not written onto.

I Was Here: emphasises the human element of archaeology and explores why these messages were being created.

27/01/2020

🎉The votes are in!🎉

The winner of round one is:

'I Was Here'

it now moves on to round two and the final round

Thanks to everyone who voted, and please vote in round two (which we had to do as the Facebook poll application only allowed two vote options)

20/01/2020

We want your input!

Hello from the Museum of Archaeology Masters student team!

We are currently hard at work preparing our upcoming June exhibition, which will showcase artefacts bearing writing and inscriptions found in County Durham. By looking at these messages and at the purpose and meaning of such objects, we will attempt to learn more about the people who marked them.

We need a title for our exhibition and would like to know what you think. Which of these titles do you like best? We will be doing two rounds as the poll on facebook only allows two options in a poll.

Remarkable: a play on the word "mark" that describes how these messages were created, as well as highlighting their interesting histories

I Was Here: emphasises the human element of archaeology and explores why these messages were being created.

DURMA.2020.1.7The Museum of Archaeology ‘Object of the Month’ is this copper alloy toilet float that was discovered as p...
14/01/2020

DURMA.2020.1.7
The Museum of Archaeology ‘Object of the Month’ is this copper alloy toilet float that was discovered as part of the archaeological excavations at 18-29 Claypath between 2016 and 2017. It is most likely to date from the early 20th century, and is an example of a metal toilet float before plastic floats were introduced. It is made from a copper alloy because copper is one of the most resistant metals to corrosion. This object features as part of the Museum of Archaeology’s temporary exhibition ‘2000 years of life at 18-29 Claypath’, where there are plenty more weird and wonderful objects on display!

This small jewel is made of silver with gold gilding and a red garnet. It dates from around 600 AD and once adorned an A...
06/12/2019

This small jewel is made of silver with gold gilding and a red garnet. It dates from around 600 AD and once adorned an Anglo-Saxon sword scabbard. The geometric style is typical of Anglo-Saxon art, and also features a triple spiral design similar to those found in the ‘La Tène’ style of Celtic artwork. This combination of Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and other artistic influences is typical of the ‘Insular Art’ style found in the British Isles during the early medieval period.

This artefact was found near Gainford, County Durham, and was acquired by the Museum of Archaeology through the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

#archaeology #archaeologymuseum #archaeologyiscool #gold #silver #garnets #anglosaxons #anglosaxonart #anglosaxonjewelry #anglosaxonjewellery #celts #celticart #latene #insularart #medieval #medievalart #medievalengland #earlymedievalengland #sword #scabbard #findsfriday #durham #countydurham #gainford #darlington #portableantiquitiesscheme

Final call for our Prehistoric Pioneers exhibition! Last day is Sunday 24 November 2019. You can find the Museum of Arch...
21/11/2019

Final call for our Prehistoric Pioneers exhibition! Last day is Sunday 24 November 2019. You can find the Museum of Archaeology upstairs or via the accessible lift at Palace Green Library in the centre of Durham.

#durham #countydurham #archaeology #dumusems #hoards #rituals #prehistory #archaeology #britisharchaeology #bronzeage #bronzeagebritain #bronzeagearchaeology #bronzeagehoards #bronzeageweapons

Warfare in the Bronze Age may have been caused by disputes over land, animals, and theft. Whilst spears could be used fo...
01/11/2019

Warfare in the Bronze Age may have been caused by disputes over land, animals, and theft. Whilst spears could be used for both hunting and combat, swords were designed exclusively for use in battle. Warriors would have been highly ranked and may have enjoyed a social status comparable to trained athletes today.

#warfare #sword #spearhead #axe #bronze #prehistory #prehistoricpioneers #dumuseumofarchaeology #archaeology #dumuseums #portableantiquitiesscheme

Looking for something to watch tonight?Tonight on ‘Inside Out’, airing on BBC One at 7.30pm, you can find out more about...
28/10/2019

Looking for something to watch tonight?

Tonight on ‘Inside Out’, airing on BBC One at 7.30pm, you can find out more about Gary Bankhead’s diving adventures in the River Wear in Durham City, and his associated research in the Department of Archaeology.

Some of the artefacts featured in the programme are currently on display in the Museum of Archaeology.

The Durham River Wear Assemblage is a vast and ever-growing collection of finds, which offer an amazing insight into the daily lives of Durham people, past and present. To find out more about Gary and the fascinating work he does in the River Wear visit: www.diveintodurham.uk

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

Opening Hours

Monday 12:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

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