Tag Archives: Finds

Community Treasure Chest

We have enjoyed a busy and thought-provoking week, since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre.

Monday saw us visit Crewkerne and Chard Museums with our volunteers for an autumn volunteer outing. This was a rewarding day, to see how two South Somerset museums are run, cared for and the considerable collections and activities conducted to promote and encourage interest in the community. Refreshments were gratefully appreciated and a particular thank you to Janet Harris at Crewkerne for allowing us to visit on a day when Crewkerne Museum is normally closed and to Roger Carter, John Allen and ‘Tea Team’ at Chard for their welcome. Lunch in Crewkerne was great too!

Tuesday saw a completely unexpected visit from a member of the public asking for an axe to be identified. Only last week, we held our autumn Finds Afternoon, so staff contacted the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer for any thoughts. One contact suggested was the Ethnographic Officer at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter, Devon.

This was their very helpful reply:

“It is a rather common farm axe which is still employed today for chopping and carving wood; it’s not as nice as other axe types that have been used. This was either brought to the UK in the 60s/ 70s or it was made here.

Most African axes are really well made. The iron is usually of high quality and the wood handles are sometimes nicely carved. This example is a roughly made axe but one that can do the job effectively.”

We also enjoyed visits to CHAC to help with an essay on Museums and their function and a visit from a Martock couple, one of which grew up in Yeovil, so was delighted by our Walk Books of Yeovil in the 1960s.

Today sees our first loan of the Imperial War Museum “Battle of the Somme” DVD to Milborne Port History Society for a screening on Monday 17th October 2016 – feedback next time!

The farm axe brought in for identification

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Scraping Home

We have enjoyed a busy and productive week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

So far this week, we are fulfilling the ‘Community’ part of our name. We have helped Ham Hill Visitor Centre with a selection of handling objects for a new display on Romans and Quarrying; we have met with a representative from Yeovil District Hospital interested in our loans box service for schools and how this can be used for reminiscence sessions with patients and we agreed a date for our next group of Yeovil College Degree Level Students to start in November 2016 to see how we can help with their English and History Courses.

We also held our autumn 2016 Archaeological Finds Afternoon with the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO).

The Somerset FLO is based in Taunton but has a number of ‘finders’ across Somerset. A busy timetable means it is difficult seeing everyone, particularly those in Yeovil. The idea is to see three or four ‘finders’ in one location in 30-minute slots. This helps local people to access this service and also to speed up the process of identifying archaeological material and returning items to people.

On this occasion, two particularly notable flint scraper blades from the South Somerset area were identified and returned. Flint scrapers were fashioned to scrape animal skin or for processing plant material and were not cutting edges. The earlier scraper dated from the Neolithic period, with the second scraper, more likely from the Bronze Age. Intriguingly, the Finds Liaison Officer informed us that as flint scrapers progressed they actually got cruder in design, which is one way to tell the difference in age.

The Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar is featured in the October 2016 Conduit Magazine.

The scraper blades found in South Somerset which were a fascinating part of our autumn 2016 Archaeological Finds Afternoon, held at CHAC.

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The Yeovil Hoard

This week, we feature a story from the Museum of Somerset South West Heritage Trust in Taunton with a Yeovil connection:                                                           

Museum launches campaign to secure Yeovil hoard of Roman coins

The South West Heritage Trust has launched a campaign to secure the Yeovil hoard so that it can be displayed in the Museum of Somerset and enjoyed by local people.

The Yeovil hoard of 3,335 Roman coins was discovered in March 2013 while ground works were being carried out on a new artificial grass pitch on behalf of South Somerset District Council at Yeovil Recreation Centre. The hoard was spotted by Mark Copsey, the driver of a bulldozer, who reported the find.

The hoard was declared Treasure and in May The Treasure Valuation Committee recommended a valuation of £53,500. To support the museum’s acquisition bid South Somerset District Council have generously waived their right as landowner to half the value of the reward. The Friends of the Museum of Somerset have also pledged their support by kindly donating £1,000.

Steve Minnitt, Head of Museums for the South West Heritage Trust, said: “The Yeovil hoard is a significant find. We would be delighted to see it end up in the county museum where it will be seen and enjoyed by thousands of people and help to tell the story of Roman Somerset. We would also like to hold an event in Yeovil exploring Roman treasures from South Somerset, when some of the coins could be displayed.”

The hoard consists of 3,335 silver coins of the second and third centuries AD. 165 of the coins are denarii and the rest are known as radiates. In addition, there are four large brass coins of a denomination known as a sestertius. 40 emperors and empresses are represented by their portraits on the coins, together with a series of exotic animals such as elephants, hippos and lions. The hoard was buried in a small pit which lay on the edge of a previously unrecognised Romano-British settlement, probably around AD 269-271.

Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at South Somerset District Council added: “It would be fantastic if the hoard of Roman coins found on our site at Yeovil Recreation Centre were to end up in a local museum for many people to enjoy. We are extremely supportive of the South West Heritage Trust’s plans to house the coins locally in Somerset and feel that by waiving our rights as the land owner to half the value of the reward, we are doing the right thing in retaining them at the Museum of Somerset.”

The South West Heritage Trust is extremely grateful to the District Council and the Museum Friends for their generous support. To secure the hoard, grant funding applications are underway to raise the £26,750 needed. As part of this the Trust needs to raise £4,000 through local donations by October. For more information about supporting the campaign to acquire the Yeovil hoard please contact Steve Minnitt on 01823 347440 or steve.minnitt@swheritage.org.uk.

The Museum of Somerset is part of the South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage.

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Yeovil hoard 1 – Image showing a group of coins before and after cleaning at the British Museum, where the hoard is being held

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4 shows two coins of Philip I (AD 244-249) with images of elephants being ridden – AD 248 saw major celebrations in Rome to mark what was believed to be the 1000th anniversary of its founding. Coins struck often feature exotic animals such as these.

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5 Yeovil hoard – Otacilia Severa, wife of Philip I, AD 244-249, with hippo on the reverse.

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9 shows preserved textile that was used to wrap at least some of the coins in piles.

IMAGES COURTESY OF THE BRITSH MUSEUM

 

Quite a Find!

A busy and intriguing week so far at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

As we write, we are in the middle of our quarterly Archaeological Finds Afternoon with the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer. A number of notable finds were brought in to be identified and a selection previously identified were returned. We have an image below of some of the finds brought in, found near Crewkerne, Somerset.

These are: an iron age coin; two Medieval coins; an 11th century buckle; a late Saxon hooked tag; Roman coins and a Roman brooch and a mystery item!

The Finds Afternoon is another use of CHAC, which helps a variety of people to access a thought-provoking and fascinating service and also emphasises responsible collecting – specifically recording the details of what an object is; where it was found and when and how – with the Finds Liaison Officer possibly able to provide an identification and a suggestion as to why the object ended up where it was found.

Image courtesy of The Somerset Finds Liaison Officer.

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