Rare shield and sword will be the highlight of museum exhibition

A bronze age shield and sword similar to the one found at Chatteris

A bronze age shield and sword similar to the one found at Chatteris - Credit: Archant

Chatteris Museum is set to host a major exhibition next spring on the human occupation of the town in ancient times.

The exhibition is inspired by the Natural History Museum project depicting Ancient Human Occupation of Britain together with a change in the school National Curriculum, which requires children to study the stone age through to the iron age in Britain.

Chatteris Museum is working to create an exhibition of items found in Chatteris.

They include flint tools from the paleolithic period of the stone age dating back to 780,000 BC, some of the earliest ever found in Britain and made by people such as Neanderthal man. Also items from the mesolithic, neolithic bronze age and iron age, almost 1,000,000 years of history, are being brought together on loan from local and national museums to present a unique exhibition of the rich heritage of Chatteris.

Among the items to be on show will be a very rare bronze age shield and rapier.


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The 3,500 year old rapier was found in a log boat; the shield, one of three from the nearby River Ouse area was also found with a spear head, sometime in the mid 1800s.

Replicas of these items will be made by an expert, to allow visitors the opportunity to see and feel the quality of the workmanship.

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The town has three Scheduled Ancient Monument sites, at Block Fen, Langwood Drove and Honey Hill.

They include the largest neolithic barrow cemetery and farm enclosure in the county, an iron age shrine, a hill fort and numerous other barrows. In the museum and on the Historic Environment Record are over 150 artefacts from this period.

To enable the exhibition to cover these ages in depth the museum is looking for examples of iron age tribal coins, neolithic and later pottery, bog oak and any metal, stone or other objects.

The shield and rapier will be displayed in a custom made secure and ergonomic display case costing £5,000.

An application for Heritage Lottery Fund support has been submitted. The exhibition will run for three years.

Ian Mason, assistant curator of Chatteris Museum said: “This is extremely exciting and a real coup for Chatteris that the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge and Oxford’s Ashmolean are so supportive and are providing items for display.”

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