Warwickshire's top ten ancient and cultural relics to be voted on by public - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire's top ten ancient and cultural relics to be voted on by public

Leamington Editorial 1st Jan, 2020   0

THE SKELETON of a giant deer, roman coins and a tapestry are among the top ten heritage treasures held by Warwickshire Museum.

The county council’s Heritage and Culture Warwickshire team selected the items which will be explored in more depth throughout January.

They will be shared across social media, and the public will be encouraged to join in the discussion and vote for its favourite.

It is part of the Warwickshire Bytes project which aims to record a digital archive of valuable objects, photographs and stories from across the county.

The objects include:

* Bubbenhall handaxes – Dating from 500,000 BC, these handaxes were made by our human ancestors ‘homo heidelbergensis’ and are some of the oldest stone tools ever found in Britain – they were excavated in the Warwick village alongside bones of straight-toothed elephants.

* Coal miner’s lamps – These early 20th century lamps were known as Davy lamp. The design provided safe light and a warning of harmful atmospheres for miners in North Warwickshire.

* Giant Irish deer skeleton – Approximately 11,000 years old, this example of an extinct giant Irish deer was excavated from a peat bog in the 1800s and has been one of Market Hall Museum’s most popular features. Named Oisin, he is also the Twitter mascot for the museum.

* Museum bees – This is one of the country’s very few indoor observation beehives and has brought interest and enjoyment to generations of museum visitors, while promoting the importance of these vital pollinators.

* Second South Warwickshire hoard – This rare hoard of 440 silver Roman danarii is one of the few in the world to contain coins minted by all four rulers during the tumultuous civil war of AD 69. The hoard was found in Edge Hill in Stratford in 2015 during excavations of a Roman settlement. It was buried in a ceramic pot under the floor of a building more than 1,900 years ago and contains coins that date back as far as 147BC.

* Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire – This woven map was one of four commissioned by Ralph Sheldon in 1590 and depicts the county at the time of William Shakespeare. It is the only one of the four to survive completely.

* Spicer Taxidermy – Peter Spicer and his sons were an important and pioneering family of taxidermists in Victorian Warwick and Leamington, who made the trade into an art – their work is known throughout the world. Warwickshire Museum received a number of Spicers’ works in the distant past.

* Suffragette sash – This shoulder sash was worn by local activist Cicely Lucas as a member of the suffragettes, who fought and suffered for the rights of women to vote from 1903 to 1917.

* Sweet machine – This sweet press was used in a local sweet shop or chemist’s in Warwickshire in the early 20th century. Warm sugar mixture would be rolled through the press to cut individual sweets, such as pear drops and cough sweets.

* Wilmcote plesiosaur skeleton – This unique and near-complete Jurassic skeleton, of the marine lizard-like creature, was unearthed near Stratford in the 19th century. Studied by experts across the world, it tells us about one of the key predators of Warwickshire’s ancient seas 200 million years ago.

Our Warwickshire web editor Benjamin Earl said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to get involved in the heritage of the county. The museum has a load of great objects, and the ability to share them with a wider audience was a chance we couldn’t turn down. Check out all our social media and Our Warwickshire, and get involved as much as you can – this heritage is your heritage!”

Visit ourwarwickshire.org.uk for more information.


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