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Museum news and exhibitions

The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions

Roman army exhibition at the British Museum

A major new exhibition exploring life in the Roman army is set to open at the British Museum in February 2024.

The blockbuster will reveal how imperial troops operated for more than 500 years, ultimately acting as a military and police force for around a quarter of the Earth’s population, and will challenge some of the perceptions about what it meant to be a Roman soldier. Displays will also examine the daily domestic lives of men, women, and children in military settlements from Scotland to the Red Sea, and share the experiences of real legionaries like Terentianus, a recruit from Egypt whose voice survives in the letters that he wrote.

Image: Yale University Art Gallery, Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos

The exhibition will feature more than 200 objects, many of which have never been shown in the UK before. Highlights include the world’s only intact legionary shield (from Dura-Europos in modern Syria; pictured above); segmental body armour recently excavated from the battlefield at Kalkriese, Germany; the remains of a soldier from Herculaneum, thought to have been caught up in the eruption of Vesuvius while helping citizens to flee; and a rare public display of the Crosby Garrett Helmet from Cumbria.

Legion: life in the Roman army’ will run from 1 February until 23 June 2024; see www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/legion-life-roman-army for more details.

Muddy Hoard on display

A significant Roman hoard containing more than 9,200 coins has gone on temporary display at the Norris Museum in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

Dubbed ‘The Muddy Hoard’, the collection (which had been stored inside two nested jars) was found by a metal-detectorist near Huntingdon, and was declared Treasure in 2021. Its contents span AD 251-272 and include coins of 15 emperors, including a previously unrecorded denarius of Tetricus I. The hoard is believed to have been hidden in the wake of the reconquest of the Gallic Empire, a breakaway territory comprising Britain, Gaul, and Spain, which seceded from the Roman Empire in AD 260 and was retaken by Aurelian in AD 274.

The exhibition opened on 16 September and will run for at least six months while the museum raises funds to give the hoard a permanent home in their main gallery. It will be complemented by a range of events, including specialist lectures, heritage-skills workshops, re-enactors, and live demonstrations. Visit the website http://www.norrismuseum.org.uk for more information.

Redcar revealed

Guests staying at Bowles Hotels, a new luxury aparthotel complex in Redcar, North Yorkshire, will be able to see artefacts discovered during its development.

Transformation of the old business centre site unearthed historical objects including mortgage deeds dating back to 1711, letters from the Second World War, photographs dating back to 1875, jewellery, and invitations to a local ball held in the early 1900s. They will be displayed in a purpose-built new museum, incorporated into the building’s basement level.

NEW EXHIBITIONS

Fearsome Craftsmen:   discover the artistry of the Viking world

North Lincolnshire Museum, Scunthorpe, 18 November 2023-5 May 2024
http://www.northlincolnshiremuseum.co.uk/event/fearsome-craftsmen

Burma to Myanmar

British Museum, London, until 11 February 2024
http://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/burma-myanmar

Theravāda Buddhism

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 9 June 2024 
http://www.nms.ac.uk/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/national-museum-of-scotland/theravada-buddhism

In the Company of Monsters: new visions, ancient myths

Reading Museum, until 24 February 2024
http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/  company-monsters-new-visions-ancient-myths

LAST CHANCE TO SEE

Throwing It Out There: the archaeology of ritual, rivers, and rubbish

Museum of Archaeology, Durham, Until 12 November 2023
http://www.dur.ac.uk/things-to-do/whats-on/events-calendar/2023/06/throwing-it-out-there-exhibition

Voices of the Red Wall

St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff, Until 26 November 2023
http://www.museum.wales/stfagans/whatson/11774/  Voices-of-The-Red-Wall