Time travel at the University of Nottingham Museum

10 Feb 2011 00:00:00.000


How sharp is a Neolithic arrowhead? And how hard is it to start a fire the Bronze Age way? The University of Nottingham’s Museum is offering visitors a unique chance to find out at a special event as part of the popular BBC series, ‘The History of Ancient Britain’.

The University of Nottingham Museum contains artefacts dating back 250, 000 years to the Palaeolithic period. The majority of objects are from the East Midlands and show everyday life in the region over this long period of time.

The ‘Hands on Prehistory’ event on Wednesday 23rd February 2011 is a rare chance for the public to take a closer look and even handle some of the prehistoric objects. The Museum staff and archaeologists from Nottinghamshire County Council will also be offering a range of activities such as prehistoric pot-making, cave painting and fire-making.

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The event been organised in collaboration with the BBC’s ‘Hands on History’ outreach programme to coincide with TV historian, Neil Oliver’s, ‘The History of Ancient Britain’, currently showing on BBC 2. It is one of several events organised in the East Midlands to encourage local people to discover the ancient history on their doorstep.  

The University Museum is open to the public and along with displays of local archaeological material contains objects from Italy, Egypt and Cyprus. The exhibits include Palaeolithic hand axes, Bronze Age swords, Roman glass, Saxon jewellery and medieval tiles.

The Museum was opened in 1933 to house a major collection of artefacts donated to the University from a large excavation on the site of the Roman settlement, Margidunum, on the Fosse Way at Bingham in Nottinghamshire. The finds from the excavation include pottery, foodstuffs, bone gaming counters, surgical instruments and jewellery.

The Museum’s curator, Clare Pickersgill, said: “The ‘Hands on Prehistory’ event is an opportunity for people to come and find out the fascinating stories behind the artefacts. It’s not every day people can actually handle prehistoric man-made objects that are usually for viewing only. And the practical activities on offer, like cave-painting and pottery, will appeal to children and adults alike and really bring our prehistoric ancestry to life.”

The event is free and open to all between 11am and 4pm on Wednesday 23 February 2011 at the University of Nottingham Museum, Department of Archaeology, Cut-Through Lane, University Park, Nottingham NG 7 2RD.

More details about the BBC’s Hands on History programme and other East Midlands events can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/history/handsonhistory

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.


The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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Story credits

More information is available from University Museum Curator Clare Pickersgill, on 0115 951 4815 or clare.pickersgill@nottingham.ac.uk , Helen Sykes BBC Learning Project Manager (East Midlands) on 0115 902 1895 helen.sykes@bbc.co.uk 

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