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Museum’s First World War Display Goes on Tour!

Look out for the museum’s First World War ‘pop-up’ display which will be touring around the county’s libraries from February until May 2017. The display honours and remembers local men that fought and died during the conflict. It also features original artefacts including souvenirs, postcards and trench art. The display can be seen at these libraries during normal opening times:
Uppingham Library: Tuesday 7th February – Saturday 4th March
Ketton Library: Wednesday 8th March – Saturday 1st April
Ryhall Library: Thursday 6th April – Saturday 6th May

Meet Rutland’s ‘Flintstones’

Ellie Cooper, our Museum Intern, shares her love for prehistory:

Prior to my role as a Collections and Interpretation Intern at Rutland County Museum I did not know much about Rutland. Admittedly, I presumed it was part of Leicestershire. Now understanding it’s the smallest county in England and given its rich history, I thought it would be great to share what I’m learning through a blog. My interests lie heavily with the Old Stone Age and so I will begin here with the Palaeolithic. This is the earliest prehistoric period — think before iron, before bronze, before farming and permanent settlements. Importantly, this was a time when people lived off the land, utilising natural resources from their environment – making stone tools much like The Flintstones!

It’s worth bearing in mind that compared to other counties, little is known about Rutland’s Palaeolithic: Rutland has no caves which make ideal preservation areas for archaeology to last the centuries.
Ancient humans occupied southern Britain intermittently from nearly 1 million years ago (800,000 years)! Though not like us, they were actually quite close to ‘becoming’ human. Living in Rutland was impossible until 130,000 years ago as a huge ice sheet covered the county before then. Rutland’s earliest evidence for ‘human’ occupation comes from [the more recent] Upper Palaeolithic [roughly between 50,000-10,000 years ago]. This was a time when modern humans made it to Britain over the ‘land bridge’ that connected us to the continent – a time when the climate warmed.

Here are some bullet points to help you get your head around the dates; the gaps are during really, really cold times when Britain was un-inhabitable during parts of the ‘Ice Age’:

Period 1 (950,000 – 450,000 years ago): Cromerian and Intra-Anglian
Period 2 (450,000 – 250,000 years ago) Pre-Levallois
Period 3 (250,000 – 150,000 years ago) Levallois
Period 4 (60,000 – 40,000 years ago) Mousterian [Neanderthals]
Period 5a (40,000 – 27,000 years ago) Early Upper Palaeolithic [Modern Humans]
Period 5b: (13,000 – 9,500 BC) Late Upper Palaeolithic

Rutland’s early Upper Palaeolithic site: GLASTON
In 2000, archaeologists unearthed Stone Age animal bones and flints from Glaston. Finding a particular spear tip (flint leaf point) provided the find’s early Upper Palaeolithic date: tools of this type date in the lab to around 30,000 years old. This was a time when Rutland’s inhabitants likely included 2 species of human: us and Neanderthals. This makes it really hard to determine who the maker of this tool was!
Here, the treeless landscape allowed herds of herbivorous animals to roam. Excitingly Rutland County Museum contains fossils of woolly rhino, bison, horse, reindeer and woolly mammoth. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not however live an easy life with spotted hyena, cave lions, wolves, and cave bears around. I’m yet to spot these in the stores.

Glaston produced few flint tools but the ones it did were fresh – they hadn’t be used many times before. It makes sense then that it’s recognised as a temporary hunting camp; a place where people on the move would have hunted and consumed meat which we know was horse! The bones tell us that they were extracting their very nutritious bone marrow too – I’m yet to try it but keep spotting it in supermarkets.

Hyena also inhabited the site before or after the people left: they dug their own dens in the soft sands. The gnawed bones tell us the hyenas too enjoyed a feast. Our ancestors must have interacted with hyenas sometimes – I wonder if these relationships came near to those we’ve recently watched on BBC’s Planet Earth 2?

Rutland’s Terminal Palaeolithic site: LAUNDE
Around 20,000 years later the site of Launde was used as a short term ‘home’ by our ancestors. This wasn’t a cave but an open air place, so it’s possible a shelter was made. The 3000 pieces of ‘fresh’ flint tools / debris among a central hearth suggest it was a place for stone tool manufacturing and maintenance. Nearly all of these tools are left unfinished. Did something happen that made these people leave the site in a hurry? Probably not – Launde’s boulder clay geology would have provided much flint: Flint would have been so easy to come by that tools may have been left behind as more could easily be produced. Launde would have been a great location for overlooking prey across a wide plateau – providing similarly good views for intercepting prey like at Glaston.
If you’ve been interested in Rutland’s ‘Flintstones’, take a trip to Rutland County Museum to see some of the Stone Age for yourself!

 

 

We have a new staff member

We have a new member of staff, Ellie Cooper. Funded by Arts Council England and in conjunction with Culture Syndicates, Ellie will work as a collections and interpretation intern at the museum:

“Having completed a MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, I am enthused by prehistory and cannot wait to get involved with Rutland’s vast archaeology.

During my time here I will help to complete a collections review which will ensure that all items held in the museum are relevant to the museum and users. This will include:

  • Confirming the location of each item within museum (behind the scenes)
  • Ensuring each item has an up-to-date description
  • Compiling a list of priorities for conservation

I will also be contributing to the design and content of new exhibition banners in the Old Riding School which will explore specific Rutland history (e.g. The Battle of Empingham) – something the museum has just been granted funding for by Arts Council England and Museum Development East Midlands.

So far, the most enigmatic object I’ve found is a dorsal fin spine of a c.160 million year extinct shark (Asteracanthus ornatissimus). Though, I can’t quite seem to escape from my ice age interests (my passion for museums began in one that revolved around Ice Age topics): the museum exhibits several mammoth fossils, one being a tooth. I like to imagine c.14 foot mammoths in Rutland.  I’m still dumbfounded by the size of mammoth teeth – they grew 5-6 sets in their lifetime!A singular Mammoth tooth

I hope my contribution will make a difference: In completing these duties it is hoped that the museum will contain more meaningful collections – enabling Rutland’s history to be available and accessible to current and future visitors.”Measuring the PlesiosaurEllie

Oakham Library refurbishment

Oakham Library is being refurbished between December 2016 and summer 2017 and will be closed to the public while this work takes place.

Don’t worry. During this time, library services will continue by moving a short distance down the road to the Rutland County Museum.

The library building will be closed from: Thursday 15th December 2016

The museum-based library service will open on: Wednesday 21st December 2016

Refurbishment work is due to be completed by summer 2017, when the service will move back to the Oakham Library.

For more information, please visit the Rutland County Council website, email: libraries@rutland.gov.uk or call: 01572 722 918.

Christmas Crafts for Children

Why not take a break from the Christmas shopping and enjoy some festive crafts? We have two Saturday sessions coming up:
Countdown to Christmas
Saturday 26 November, 1.30-3.30pm
Start counting down to Christmas and make a snowman ‘clock’ and Christmas tree and Nativity themed advent calendars. Also create some colourful and unique Christmas cards. £1 per child.
Let it Snow!
Saturday 17 December, 1.30-3.30pm
Add a personal touch to your festive decorations and make a range of Santa, snowmen and snowflake themed baubles and gift bags. £1 per child.
All workshops are suitable for children 4-10 years. No need to book, just drop in. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Medieval Leicestershire and Rutland

Medieval gold ring.

Medieval gold ring.

We continue our series of lectures with Peter Liddle on the archaeology of Rutland and Leicestershire. Having looked previously at the Romans and the Normans we’ve now reached Medieval times.
Peter is the former County Archaeologist for Leicester and Rutland and always provides an informative and entertaining lecture.

Lectures take place on Thursdays, commence at 2pm and run until about 4pm or a little after, depending on encores. Prior booking is useful but not essential. You can attend the whole course or come to individual lectures.

September 8th: Medieval Villages and fields.
September 15th: Medieval Leicester, market towns and industry.
September 22nd: Castles and Manor Houses.
September 29th: The Church: Parish churches and chapels.
October 6th: The Church: Religious Houses and pilgrimage.
October 13th: The Tudors and the end of the medieval period.
Price: £30 for the series or £6 per lecture (Refreshments included)

To book your place e-mail peter.liddle51@gmail.com or phone (0116) 2214508 or 07842 120817 or contact the Museum on 01572 758440.

Summer Holiday Workshops

Looking for something to do with the children during the school holidays? The museum has a varied programme of craft based workshops running every Wednesday from the 27th July through to the 24th August. Look on our Events page or download the leaflet here: Leaflet SummerHols 2016

 

Museum project will examine thousands of objects

Rutland County Museum is undertaking a collection review of all objects in its reserve collection. The objects in the review include the mixed social history and the archaeology collection. A small team from a company called Culture Syndicates are working with museum staff to review all the objects within its stores.

Collections review and rationalisation is part of effective collections management. We hope that the review will

A member of the Culture Syndicate team working in the mixed social history store

help us to

  • Ensure that the collections are relevant to the museum’s Collections Development Plan
  • Maximise storage space
  • Ensuring collections are of high quality and relevant to users
  • Enhance knowledge and information about the collections and improve documentation
  • Identifying objects that can be used in handling collections
  • Identifying objects that can be used within our temporary exhibition programme
  • Identifying objects that may be more suitable in other museum collections.

The museum has over 12,000 objects in its stores and therefor this project will take many months to complete. We shall be keeping you informed of the work being undertaken on our Twitter and Facebook pages so please do take a look and see what we are currently working on.

If you have any queries or questions about the review at all, please do email us at museum@rutland.gov.uk.

Life in Langham 1914-1919

Life in Langham 1914-1919

Life in Langham 1914-1919


Our new exhibition gives an insight in to day-to-day life in a Rutland village during The Great War and its effects.
The exhibition is a joint presentation by Langham Village History Group and Rutland County Museum and is in conjunction The Lord Lieutenant’s Committee for the Commemoration of the Great War.
The exhibition runs until Sat 11th June.
Admission is Free. Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10am – 4pm (closed Bank Holidays)

Angles and Saxons

The Anglo Saxons in Leicestershire and Rutland

Rutland County Museum is pleased to announce another series of 6 lectures on local archaeology presented by Peter Liddle MBE.
This time he will be focussing on the Anglo-Saxon heritage of the area.
All lectures are on Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm, you are welcome to attend the whole course or just come to individual lectures.

April 14th: The Saxon Conquest
April 21st: Early Anglo-Saxon settlements
April 28th: Early Anglo-Saxon burial
May 5th – No Lecture
May 12th: The Mercian Period – church and state
May 19th: The Viking invasion and the Danelaw
May 26th: Late Saxon Leicestershire and the Norman Conquest

Price is £30 for the series or £6 per lecture. – Tea / Coffee and Biscuits are included in the price.
Bookings: e-mail peter.liddle51@gmail.com or phone (0116) 2214508 or 07842 120817.