Museum News December 2021

The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions.

Ryedale Roman bronzes acquired by Yorkshire Museum

Photo: David Aaron Ltd.

An 1,800-year-old Roman hoard, including a bust of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, has been acquired by the Yorkshire Museum. The bronze objects were discovered by metal-detectorists in a field near Ampleforth in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, in May 2020, and are thought to have been buried as a votive offering. As well as the 13cm-tall bust, which may have once topped a sceptre, the collection comprises a horse-shaped knife handle, a statuette depicting the god Mars on horseback, and a plumb-bob used in engineering. The museum has been able to acquire the hoard largely thanks to Richard Beleson from San Francisco, who previously supported its purchase of the Wold Newton Hoard, together with help from the Art Fund and individual donors.

Slavery and steam

Universities and museums across Yorkshire and the north of England are to explore the links between railways and the global slave trade as part of a new research project called ‘Slavery and Steam: steam power, railways, and colonialism’. Supported by a grant from the White Rose University Consortium, the project brings together the Universities of York, Leeds, and Sheffield, and the National Railway Museum in York, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, and Leeds Industrial Museum. The team intends initially to run workshops, publish a handbook, and create digital content to share their findings with the public, with peer-reviewed research articles as a longer-term aim.

Ad Gefrin opening in autumn 2022

IMAGE: Richard Elphick.

The royal court at Yeavering and the 7th- and 8th-century ‘Golden Age’ of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria are to be recreated at a new visitor attraction in nearby Wooler, Northumberland. Ad Gefrin is set to open in autumn 2022, and the £10.4 million project will draw on discoveries at Yeavering in the 1950s and 1960s, including a complex of timber halls and a grandstand dating back 1,400 years, and recent further investigations of the archaeological remains by site owners The Gefrin Trust. The cultural attraction, just under five miles from the original site, will feature an immersive exhibition combining projected films and artefacts excavated on the site and loaned from elsewhere. There will also be a bistro-bar, shop, and whisky distillery. The initiative is funded by the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, the North East Rural Growth Network–Strategic Infrastructure Fund, North East LEP, and Northumberland County Council.

New exhibitions

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters
The Box, Plymouth
Until 27 February 2022

David Abram: Ancient Sites from the Air
Salisbury Museum
29 January-15 May 2022

Last chance to see

Decoding the Roman Dead
Colchester Castle
Until 6 January 2022

John Pull: Worthing’s Hero Archaeologist
Worthing Museum & Art Gallery
Until 24 December 2021

The Slate Landscape of North West Wales – a bid for World Heritage Status
Until 31 December 2021
National Slate Museum, Llanberis

Legacies of Empire
National War Museum, Edinburgh Castle
Until 30 January 2022