Gazebos and garden furniture

After this morning’s excitement (being on the radio and Britain’s oldest piece of iron- see my previous blogs) I have spent this afternoon away from my normal den and been at The Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock. After packing up my selection of objects for tomorrow’s object handling session (flints, beaker, Anglo-Saxon bling and a few other bits and bobs) I drove over to the museum to unload and lock it all securely away until tomorrow, and then helped out the team here, erecting gazebos in the garden and moving the garden furniture to make enough space for tomorrow’s reenactment group, Dumnonika. We’ll have crafts for children too, thanks to the Education and Outreach team, and now (fingers crossed) I think everything is ready to go for the opening day of the Festival of Archaeology tomorrow. We’ve been planning it for months, and its really satisfying to see it all coming together, and we are already starting to think about next year’s festival, the main thought being we should begin planning much earlier!
Anyway, my 5:30 start seems a long way off now, and I have only had one bacon butty since then and another long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I am signing off to go home and lounge in the bath. Its been an unusual day, a long day, but a very satisfying day. The kind of day that makes me think there is no better job than being a Curator of Archaeology, and how very, very lucky I am!

An exciting axe!

DSC_0039Last week I found an axe head languishing in a drawer in the metals store. It instantly struck a a chord, as it was the shape of a late Bronze Age looped socketed axe, but was rusty, so must have been made from iron. I took it back to my desk and looked it up on the database, and found a more-or-less empty record. Subsequent digging around, and a few emails later, it turned out to be very well researched, and with good reason! C14 dating of wood from inside the socket show it to be 500-800BC, making it (as far as I know) the oldest positively dated iron object in Britain! Why we had no record of all this research and the publications which followed I do not know, but the situation has been rectified, and this morning Sarah, our part-time archaeological conservator (who is also completing a PhD at UCL) and I looked at it together to decide if we could put it on display. I’m very pleased to say that we can, and we will, although maybe not until next year.
Now I need to pack up my selection of handling objects and drive over to the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock to help get everything ready for the opening day of the Festival of British Archaeology, where will have object handling, children’s craft activities and the Iron Age re-enactment group Dumnonika. I’m looking forward to meeting them and having a chat…