This is the Archaeology Museum for Lincoln and is in a splendid new building just off Steep Hill. It is a visually exciting building with a lot of written information which I didn’t have time to read properly this visit. I was given a leaflet which gave a plan of the museum and highlighted some of the exhibits.
As you might expect, the story begins with the Stone Age and there is a case of beautifully shaped stone axe heads. There are flint tools as well as cremation pots. Moving into the Iron age there is the reconstruction of a round house roof as well as the Fiskerton longboat from about 1BC and hollowed out from a single tree trunk. There are examples of iron age jewellery and a horde of gold coins from about 2000 years ago.
Moving into the Roman, there are a lot of exhibits as might be expected as Lincoln was a major fort and later colonia. There are displays of Roman coins and a horde with the pot it was found in and also Roman jewellery. There are examples of tombstones and milestones. There are examples of painted Roman wall plaster and a small piece of mosaic. There are pots and Samian ware as well as small statues of the different gods. There is a display on salt making and a salt evaporation pan. There is a Roman soldier with a shield and helmets to try on.
Next are the Anglo-Saxons and most of the display here is based on death with examples of grave goods; brooches, beads, and burial urns.There are some large ornate bowls called ‘hanging’ bowls which were probably made in Ireland or Northern England as they show a strong Celtic influence. No-one knows what there function was. There is a display of the grave goods found from a travelling Smith. His body is long gone but the tool set survives as well as his samples of finished goods and raw materials.
Next are the vikings and there is a reconstruction of a workshop of Thorfast the Combmaker. This is based on excavations of over 50 buildings found on Flaxengate. He used deer antler and cows horn to produce beautifully finished combs with carved and decorated handles. IThere are displays of viking jewellery including a silver ring and small gold bars which were used for trading. In another case is a Viking sword and a lethal skull splitter. Little wonder the warriors were feared.
Medieval Lincoln covers the period from 1066-1485. There are examples of carved stonework, pots, horseshoes, keys, weights for fishing nets, brooches, rings and buckles. There is pottery and jewellery as well as a facsimile of an illustrated manuscript.
‘Investigate’ has computer touch screens to find out more about the museum and its contents. There ar drawers with more examples of prehistoric pottery fragments, Roman coins, brooches and pottery. There are Anglo-Saxon and medieval coins.
Entry to the museum is free and it is wheelchair friendly. There is a lot of information and you need to allow at least two hours to read it all. It does have a small cafe attached but I didn’t investigate this. Free museum tours are offered every Saturday afternoon and once a month there is a talk on an aspect of the collection. The Museum also has a small exhibition area hosting a range of different themes. It was between exhibitions on the day I visited.
There are children’s work sheets and Thursday afternoons there is an Under fives story time. This seemed well patronised.
There is a lot going on at the museum.
Just a couple of minutes walk away is the splendid Usher Gallery, which houses paintings and fine arts. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit this.