Search Results for: "archaeology" - Page 1 of 3

The online catalogue does not include details of all our collections. Contact us for further information on collections not yet featured online.

Pursuing the Archaeology of the Peak District

The archaeology collections at the Potteries Museum cover many parts of Staffordshire, including parts of the county that fall within the boundaries of the Peak District National Park.

I’m currently involved in a project, working closely with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, to track down where archaeological collections from the Peak District have ended up. The aim is to pull data together and create rich online resources for people to explore Peak District archaeology. Objects have ended up in many places. The excavations of Victorian antiquarians spread material far and wide across the country. The Peak District crosses four counties so material still ends up in one of several different receiving museums.

At the Potteries Museum, the majority of our Peak District collections relate to areas around the Manifold Valley – particularly the archaeology of the limestone caves that are widespread along the lengths of the Hamps and Manifold Rivers. You can see some of items on display in our archaeology galleries, including finds from the magnificent Thor’s Cave.

Pieces of worked antler from Thor’s Cave, Manifold Valley. Thought to be Iron Age cheek pieces for horse harnesses (see illustration)
Objects from Thor’s Cave, Manifold Vallery: 26. Iron Age bone comb 27. Whetstone 28.Perforated bone

Of course, not all of our Peak District cave finds are ancient, but they do continue the comb theme…

Objects from Wetton Mill Rock Shelter: 16. Iron Horseshow, 13th-16th century 17.Ox molar 18.Plastic comb 19. Rabbit skull

There are many more wonderful finds from the Manifold Valley, and not just here at the Potteries Museum. Depending who excavated, and when, finds from the region can also be found in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and even as far away as Manchester Museum who have collections relating to Ossom’s Eerie.

Today there is an established process for ensuring the results of archaeological excavations are carefully recorded and deposited in a logical place and we try keep archives from the same site together. Victorian archaeologists usually had very different methods. Caves were frequently excavated with dynamite (none in the Manifold Valley luckily!) and specimens were sent all over the country for colleagues to examine. Frequently objects made their way into private collections rather than public museums.

Of course, many of these private collections eventually ended up in the public realm. The collections of ‘Barrow Knigjht’ Thomas Bateman (1821-1861) who excavated more than 100 Peak District barrows is at Museums Sheffield. Similarly many specimens of subfossil bone can be found at The Manchester Museum through the activities of Sir William Boyd Dawkins (1837-1929) at sites such as Victory Quarry, Doveholes and Windy Knoll, near Castleton.

Thomas Bateman, the ‘Barrow Knight’, excavated more than 100 barrows across Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. His collection is now with Museums Sheffield, Image (c) Museums Sheffield; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation. Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA.

Many of the bordering cities around the Peak District hold fragments of its archaeology. Alongside Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester and Derby there are also collections at Derby and Bolton. However, some objects have traveled much further from the Peak District. From its origins in the 18th century, archaeology was long the hobby of elites, many of them landed gentry. It wasn’t surprising then to see some objects had made their way into National Trust properties around the country.

The village of Warslow, Staffordshire was once owned by the Harpur-Crewe family of Calke Abbey. Some of the objects found on the estates made it down the family’s main residence, including a box of animal bones and teeth found in a nearby cave. Where was this cave? You guessed it! The Manifold Valley.

Calke Abbey, South Derbyshire, owned by National Trust. Image by xlibber Creative Commons CC BY-SA.

Other travellers include a Bronze Axe from Eyam, Derbyshire, now at Wallington, Northumbria. I still haven’t worked out the connection, but the Blacketts of Wallington were mine owners and may had a link with the lead-mining industry in Derbyshire.

My journey through the data is far from over – there are objects too in Oxford, London, and even Scotland. I can’t wait to update the blog in the future and share where else the trail is leading, and what fun things we can do with the data.

The project is managed by Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and funded through The British Museum’s National Programmes Scheme.

Archaeology

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is the principal repository for archaeological material from Staffordshire.  The large archaeology collection includes artefacts which date from the prehistoric period right up to post-medieval ceramics from the sites of former local pottery manufactories. The latter complements the museum’s extensive ceramic collections.

Artefacts deemed to be Treasure as defined by the Treasure Act are acquired. The most high-profile of these is the Staffordshire Hoard – an Anglo-Saxon hoard of gold and silver artefacts – which is jointly owned with Birmingham City Council.

Archaeology Collections Online

Archaeology Collections Online

We have an ever-growing list of our archaeology collections available to view online.
Staffordshire Hoard

Staffordshire Hoard

The largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.
Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs

Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs

We did it! Thank you to the members of the public and numerous charitable trusts and organisations who helped us to bring the Leekfrith Iron Age torcs back to North Staffordshire where they belong and can be freely seen and enjoyed by all visitors to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.
Stoke-on-Trent Young Archaeologists’ Club

Stoke-on-Trent Young Archaeologists’ Club

Details about our Young Archaeologist's Club.
Money & Medals Network

Money & Medals Network

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery are a partner in the Money & Medals Network which is funded by Arts Council England and the British Museum's Partnership UK programme. [External Link]
Prehistoric Objects

Prehistoric Objects

Explore some of the prehistoric objects in our online catalogue - Stone Age to Iron Age
Identifying Finds

Identifying Finds

How to contact us about identification queries. We also hold regular Finds Days in partnership with the Portable Antiquities Scheme's regional Finds Liaison Officer.
Deposition of Archaeological Archives

Deposition of Archaeological Archives

Information for archaeological projects and contractors who wish to deposit archaeological archives at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Archaeology

The archaeology gallery showcases Staffordshire’s rich and diverse archaeological heritage from prehistoric technologies to daily life in a Roman household, medieval monasticism to the early potters of Burslem. It includes fascinating excavated material and exciting treasure finds from across the county.

21 – Reindeer in Staffordshire

Did you know there was a time when you didn’t have to wait until Christmas to see a Reindeer in North Staffordshire?

Reindeer Jaw from Ossom’s Cave, Manifold Valley

The proof can be found among our archaeology collections. In the caves of the Staffordshire Peak District,  in the Manifold and Hamps Valley, archaeologists excavated animal remains dating back beyond 12,000 years ago into the last ice age.

At one cave, Ossom’s Cave, they discovered more than 1,000 bones in one of the older layers. Only four of which weren’t identified as Reindeer remains.

These bones, alongside other species like Lemming and Ptarmigan, are clues to the ice age climate that once gripped much of Britain. As the ice retreated people began to move back into Britain. Reindeer herds offered an important source of food, clothing, and materials for tool making. Hunters probably exploited seasonal migration routes, using caves as shelter. Flint blades from ancient hunters were found at Wetton Mill Rock Shelter and some bones found in the region have potential cut marks from butchering. What would Rudolph say to that!?

9. Anglo-Saxon Christmas

Pectoral cross (cat.588) – one of several items in the Staffordshire Hoard associated with Christianity

This gold cross, with delicate filigree decoration, is among a small number of Christian items found in the Staffordshire Hoard. When Anglo-Saxons first began to settle in England they brought their Pagan beliefs with them. However, by the time the Staffordshire Hoard was buried after around 650AD, a number of kingdoms had converted to Christianity.

Our modern ideas of Christmas owe much to the Victorians. So what did an Anglo-Saxon Christmas involve? It is interesting to note that the word Christmas itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon word, Cristesmæsse, first recorded in 1038.

Pagan Anglo-Saxons already celebrated the 25th December with a festival known as Yule. We don’t know too many details about what this festival entailed. A Yule Log was cut to provide fuel and gradually pushed into the fire as it burned. Homes and halls were decorated with evergreen leaves and branches. Feasting took place, but it was boar, not turkey, on the menu.

And what about Christian Anglo-Saxons? In fact their Christmas wasn’t much different. It was no coincidence that Christmas Day and Yule shared the same date. The early Roman church had realised people were more likely to convert to Christianity if there was some continuity in their lives, including the dates of key festivals. Although many kingdoms embraced the new faith, people hung onto traditions that had been observed for generations. Some, such as feasting, drinking, and evergreen decorations, even survive to this day.

Furthermore, Christmas didn’t have the same importance in the early Church calendar. Easter was considered far more important to the Anglo-Saxon Church, celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection. However, Christmas Christian traditions did develop. Ecgbert of York (died 766), a cleric and contemporary of the Venerable Bede, wrote “the English people have been accustomed to practise fasts, vigils, prayers and the giving of alms both to monasteries and to the common people, for the full twelve days before Christmas”.

Books

We have a great selection of local interest books, including local history, ceramics, the pottery industry, archaeology, the Staffordshire Hoard, Anglo-Saxon history, and much more.

CSI 2015: Downloads

7 SURPRISING ADVANCES

See seven scientific discoveries made during WWI
DOWNLOAD THE SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES PDF

ARCHAEOLOGY

Find out about archaeology and the Great War
DOWNLOAD THE ARCHAEOLOGY PDF

BUGS

The bugs and parasites found in the trenches of WWI
DOWNLOAD THE BUGS PDF

METAL DETECTING

An easy to read guide about how metal detecting works
DOWNLOAD THE METAL DETECTING PDF

MINING

The secret war going on underneath no-mans land
DOWNLOAD THE MINING PDF

NAME THAT SHELL

A list of the names soldiers gave to shells in WWI
DOWNLOAD THE NAME THAT SHELL PDF

PERISCOPE

All about the use of periscopes in WWI trenches
DOWNLOAD THE PERISCOPE PDF

POISON GAS 1

Types of poison gas used in WWI and their effects
DOWNLOAD THE POISON GAS 1 PDF

POISON GAS 2

How poison gas was used to kill and terrorise
DOWNLOAD THE POISON GAS 2 PDF

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES

See some more conventional warfare advances during WWI
DOWNLOAD THE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES PDF

CSI: The Scientific Legacy of WWI | 2018

Welcome to CSI: Stoke! Here you can learn all about our free World-War-One-inspired CSI event on Saturday 15th September.

Find out what activities will be going on both inside and outside – including talks from World War I experts – as well as how you can get involved by bringing your World War I ephemera to our Ask an Expert panel.

Working with Staffordshire and Keele Universities and Stoke-on-Trent Archaeology Service the museum will explore the scientific aspects of World War One. In a series of hands-on activities visitors can learn about trench archaeology, the chemical development of poison gas and have a go at making their own periscopes used to look over the top of trenches. Children can crawl through our replica tunnel to experience what life was like for soldiers underground.

There will be a medical display with leading military historian and author Andrew Robertshaw, which will include a range of real and replica items related to the work of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring family photographs, letters and other items to our panel of experts who will help to identify them and reveal what these items say about your relative’s military history.

Indoor Activities

THE BATTLE OF THE ANCRE AND THE ADVANCE OF THE TANKS
Free screenings at 11am and 3.30pm. Including the first ever scenes of tanks in battle, the film also conveys, with power and artistry, the difficulties experienced by the British Army as it fought on over ground beset in a sea of mud. Over one hundred years later, this unique film from IWM’s collection, is being shown to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

©IWM still from The Battle of the Ancre and Advance of the Tanks (1917) © IWM 116

POISON GASES AND EXPLOSIVE MOLECULES
Explore the chemistry of explosives with our molecular model making

MILITARY ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
A medical display staffed by experts to show a range of real and replica items related to the Western Front.

PERISCOPES
Avoid getting shot by looking at a real WWI periscope and making your own periscope to take home.

RUBBER BAND GUNS
Using the elasticity of rubber to explain the basic principles of gunfire

THE ITCHES!
View the scourge of the common soldier on the battlefield through microscopes, lice, fleas and mosquitoes!

UNDERGROUND TUNNEL
For the young adventurers – experience what it was like to work through tunnels mined under the Front itself!

WESTERN FRONT ASSOCIATION
Ask the Western Front Association (WFA) experts who will be able to source any relatives army records and print out memorial scrolls.

ASK THE EXPERTS
Staffed by WWI experts who will be pleased to identify and discuss any contemporary WWI items visitors bring along.

Outdoor Activities

DEBORAH II REPLICA TANK
‘Deborah II’ a replica WW1 tank on loan for the day from the Norfolk Tank Museum. Commissioned by TV presenter Guy Martin for a Channel 4 documentary this reproduction Mk IV was the first tank to see successful active duty in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. It was constructed at local engineering firm JCB in 2017 using state of the art computerised welding equipment to demonstrate modern technology.

BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES
Get young enthusiasts to use a metal detector to find and take home metallic relicts from the Great War.

BATTLEFIELD ARCHAEOLOGY
See real archaeologists patiently excavating part of the ‘battlefield’ and associated artefacts – why not have a go?

Expert Talks

HAWTHORN: A TALE OF TWO CRATERS, BATTLE OF THE SOMME
A multi-disciplinary investigation, 2pm
This unique environment marks the only site to have been blown up on two separate occasions marking the beginning and the end of the Battle of the Somme. The first mine explosion in July 1916, is the only one ever filmed. 100 years after the First World War, this world first is only now being investigated by a multidisciplinary team of historians and scientists.

CSI: The Science of the Great War | 2017

Welcome to CSI: Stoke! Here you can learn all about our free World-War-One-inspired CSI event on Saturday 1st April 2017.

Find out what activities will be going on both inside and outside – including talks from World War I experts – as well as how you can get involved by bringing your World War I ephemera to our Ask an Expert panel.

Working with Staffordshire and Keele Universities and Stoke-on-Trent Archaeology Service the museum will explore the scientific aspects of World War One. In a series of hands-on activities visitors can learn about trench archaeology, the chemical development of poison gas and have a go at making their own periscopes used to look over the top of trenches. Children can crawl through our replica tunnel to experience what life was like for soldiers underground and see a replica WW1 aircraft.

There will be a medical display with leading military historian and author Andrew Robertshaw, which will include a range of real and replica items related to the work of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring family photographs, letters and other items to our panel of experts who will help to identify them and reveal what these items say about your relative’s military history.

Discover the scientific aspects of World War One. In a series of hands-on activities you’ll be able to learn about trench archaeology, the chemical development of poison gas and have a go at making your own periscope!

Explore a frontline medical station with leading military historian Andrew Robertshaw, which includes a range of real and replica items related to the work of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

You’re also encouraged to bring family photographs, letters and other ephemera to our Ask an Expert panel – they can help identify them and reveal what these items say about your relatives’ military history.

Indoor Activities

POISON GASES AND EXPLOSIVE MOLECULES
Explore the chemistry of explosives with our molecular model making

MILITARY ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
A medical display staffed by experts to show a range of real and replica items related to the Western Front.

PERISCOPES
Avoid getting shot by looking at a real WWI periscope and making your own periscope to take home.

RUBBER BAND GUNS
Using the elasticity of rubber to explain the basic principles of gunfire

THE ITCHES!
View the scourge of the common soldier on the battlefield through microscopes, lice, fleas and mosquitoes!

UNDERGROUND TUNNEL
For the young adventurers – experience what it was like to work through tunnels mined under the Front itself!

WESTERN FRONT ASSOCIATION
Ask the Western Front Association (WFA) experts who will be able to source any relatives army records and print out memorial scrolls.

EXPERT TALK: SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY WRITERS IN THE GREAT WAR
11am This talk looks at the lives of over a hundred writers, of all nationalities, who were directly involved in the war, and shows how varied their experiences were: not just fighting, but acting as doctors, ambulance drivers, nurses, spies and propagandists.

EXPERT TALK: ARNOLD BENNETT AT THE FRONT – WWI
2pm In June 1915 Arnold Bennett spent three weeks touring the Western Front in France and Belgium and published his book “Over There” based on his experiences. Together with archive images and film this talk will illustrate a personal account of the Great War through the eyes of the acclaimed author.

ASK THE EXPERTS
Staffed by WWI experts who will be pleased to identify and discuss any contemporary WWI items visitors bring along.

Outdoor Activities

WW1 BI-PLANE
A Se5a WW1 fighter plane will be at the museum along with its own ‘pilot’ who will give a series of presentations about the development of flying in WW1.

BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES
Get young enthusiasts to use a metal detector to find and take home metallic relicts from the Great War.

BATTLEFIELD ARCHAEOLOGY
See real archaeologists patiently excavating part of the ‘battlefield’ and associated artefacts – why not have a go?

CSI: The Science of the Great War | 2015

APRIL 2015

Welcome to CSI: Stoke! Here you can learn all about our free World-War-One-inspired CSI event.

Find out what activities will be going on both inside and outside – including talks from World War I experts – as well as how you can get involved by bringing your World War I ephemera to our Ask an Expert panel.

Working with Staffordshire and Keele Universities and Stoke-on-Trent Archaeology Service the museum will explore the scientific aspects of World War One. In a series of hands-on activities visitors can learn about trench archaeology, the chemical development of poison gas and have a go at making their own periscopes used to look over the top of trenches. Children can crawl through our replica tunnel to experience what life was like for soldiers underground.

There will be a medical display with leading military historian and author Andrew Robertshaw, which will include a range of real and replica items related to the work of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring family photographs, letters and other items to our panel of experts who will help to identify them and reveal what these items say about your relative’s military history.

Activities and Talks

  • ‘Bangs and Flashes’ repeated public lecture by Dr. Richard Darton (Keele University) on how explosives played an important role in the Great War.

Richard looked at their use in grenades, torpedoes and ammunition through to excavation and mining for vital resources.   Although the chemistry of military explosives has changed somewhat since WW1 the underlying principles are very much the same.  Richard took an interactive look at the fundamental science behind the explosives of World War 1; including their development, chemistry, uses and disasters.

  • ‘The Spanish Flu’ repeated public lecture by Dr. Pauline Gowland (Staffordshire University) on the deadly pandemic that broke out in January 1918.

This flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and killed 50 to 100 million of them—three to five percent of the world’s population —making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. The close quarters and massive troop movements of World War I hastened the pandemic and probably both increased transmission and augmented mutation; the war may also have increased the lethality of the virus. Some speculate the soldiers’ immune systems were weakened by malnourishment, as well as the stresses of combat and chemical attacks, increasing their susceptibility.

  • ‘Ask the Expert’ Panel, including Andy Robertshaw (ex-Time Team) to look at artefacts brought by the public
  • Walk through WW1 trench/dugout with learners  to experience what it was like for soldiers to live in the trenches
  • WW1 indoor ‘underground offensive mining tunnel’ for learners to experience what mining under the Western Front was like, complete with short talk about how soldiers from Stoke did it.
  • Talk about explosives development and demonstration of explosives in action
  • Use of metal detectors to find remnants of WW1 battlefield artefacts for learners to use (includes take-home WW1 coins)
  • Using battlefield archaeology to uncover the past, opportunity for learners to have a go at archaeology
  • WW1 Military First Aid post to talk about how they treated injuries and getting young learners involved
  • Making various molecules of poison gases used in WW1
  • Showing how periscopes work with contemporary one and letting learners make their own to take home

Download a range of activity sheets here.

THE TRENCH

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has installed an outdoor replica First World War trench system next to the museum. It is being created to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war in 1914 and will offer visitors an atmospheric, thought-provoking understanding of some of the conditions experienced by soldiers on the front line.

Engagement days are planned for both school-age young learners and adults, which will combine activities and displays with science demonstrations. Visitors will be able to learn about life in the trenches, artillery shells, how poison gas was made and even try their hand at making periscopes, which were used to spy on enemy positions.

The trench will be open daily from 11am – 3pm, weather permitting, and will be free to view.