Grosvenor Museum

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Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2021

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On your own

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As well as information about buildings and building techniques (see separate review), the Newstead Gallery also has many smaller artefacts found in Chester and the surrounding area. This give a wonderful insight into everyday life in Chester.

Many coins have been found dating from the early occupation through to the time the Romans left Britain.

Pottery is commonly found from cheap, locally produced kitchenware to more expensive imported goods. There are also examples of glassware. Metal blades of knives and spoon bowls survive, unlike the handles which were made of wood or bone.

Personal hygiene was of utmost importance and the wealthy regularly visited the public baths. A strigil was used to scape grime from the skin. Oils and perfumes were massaged into the skin from small unguent vases.

There are examples of wooden pins which were used either as cloth or hair fasteners. These range from very simple those with elaborately carved heads.

There are also examples of beads and rings. Rings were made from metal, bone, jet or even glass. Many had a gemstone which might be carved with religious or mythological scenes or motifs connected to the family.

Broaches were used to secure clothing and were made of a variety of materials and styles. The simplest was a long pin coiled into a spring at one end and fastened under a catch. More elaborate were shaped to resemble animals or birds.

Legionaries wore a broad leather belt decorated with belt plates. This held the dagger and a protective apron of studded leather straps. There are also examples of a dagger blade a with wooden scabbard. This was worn on the left side and was used as a tool as well as a weapon.

Leather rarely survives, but two leather boot soles were found during excavations. These had open tops, much like a modern sandal but thick soles with metal studs. As well as making the boots last longer, they gave extra grip on slippery slippery surfaces.

Also on display is a replica of a Roman military diploma found in 1812. Only 13 have been discovered and this is the most complete. These were bronze tablets given to foreign soldiers after 25 year’s service, granting citizenship to the soldier and their children and also making their marriage legal. The original is in the British Museum.

Normally writing was done with a wooden pen dipped in ink on Papyrus or thin sheets of wood. Iron or bronze stylus was used for writing on wax tablets. This had a sharp point at one end and a broad tip at the other to rub out mistakes. Tablets could be fastened together with leather strips and a wax seal attached for extra security.

There are more photographs “here.”:


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