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Monday, 25 March 2013

Bronze Age relics go on display for first time at Dalby Forest

Bronze Age relics dating back 4,000 years are on display for the first time at the Forestry Commission's Dalby Forest visitor centre in North Yorkshire.

Looking through the eye of the past: Katie Thorn and one of the items
from the Bronze Age collection. Photo by Tony Bartholomew.

The ceramics, jet, tools and part of a scabbard was found by local history enthusiasts William Lamplough , son David,  and John  'Ronnie'  Lidster in the surrounding countryside after World War Two.

Two years ago, the archive was donated to the Yorkshire Museum and much of it is on show until May, next year, as part of the museum's project to highlight the pre-history of the nation's largest biggest county.

Katie Thorn, of the Forestry Commission, said: “We have never before had this kind of material on show at Dalby, but it's absolutely fitting as the forest contains no less than 83 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, spanning thousands of years.

"Most of the archive items were found around Bronze Age burial mounds in forests like Langdale and Broxa.  Little is known about this period as it was nearly 1,000 years before the Romans came and we have no written records.  But these artefacts do give us a precious and fascinating insight into life of our ancestors.”

The artefacts were recovered by the finders because they feared  barrows would be destroyed by the post-war expansion of forestry.

Today, such sites are protected by the Forestry Commission and each has its own management plan. Many monuments and earthworks have survived when many similar monuments on agricultural land have been lost under the plough.

Natalie McCaul,  curator  of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, said: “Since being donated we have been carefully cataloguing, photographing and  researching the artefacts.

"Dalby is the perfect place to show them as we are very keen to link objects back to the landscape in which they were found.  Simple objects can tell us quite a lot about the habits and customs of people who seem very distant in history but are very much part of our cultural fabric.”

The Yorkshire Museum’s three-year Prehistory in Yorkshire project will focus on the county's megalithic past, highlighting internationally renowned sites such as Star Carr, along with the Bronze Age and the Iron Age Arras culture, famed for its chariot burials.

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