National Civil War Centre

Discover 3000 Years of History For Free at Festival of Archaeology

12 July 2022

A feast of fascinating objects from throughout history, some as many as 3000 years old and more, have gone on display this month at the National Civil War Centre. The free mini exhibition has been curated from the archives of the Newark Museum as part of the nationwide Festival of Archaeology, running from Saturday 16th to Sunday 31st July.

Many objects have been specially chosen to suit the festival’s theme of journeys with objects from people who migrated here across the centuries from Italy, Germany, Scandinavia and more. There are objects that modern day travellers can identify with; today's holidaymakers might pack travel games and both Roman marbles and a Viking gaming piece are on show. There are various currencies to pay your way from Iron Age coins to ones embossed with the faces of Roman Emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Domitian and Trajan as well as a Viking ingot which show evidence of portions being hacked off to pay for items as you go. Items even include those used to make roads to journey upon, including a Roman bident which could have been used in the construction of the Fosse Way (A46).

Some of the oldest items indicate the first signs of settlement, as Bronze Age people began to create stationary homes and communities. These include axe and spear heads, used to chop down wood to build homes and to defend their settlements from outsiders.

A number of items are on display for the first time since joining the museum’s collection. One such object, kindly purchased by the Friends of the National Civil War Centre – Newark Museum, is a stunning medieval gold finger ring, dating from the 12th to the 13th century. The beautiful blue stone which adorns it is thought to be a sapphire. Some of the pieces, including another remarkable piece of jewellery, an Anglo Saxon gold filigree pendant from the 6th to 7th century, were acquired as treasure items while others, such as a Roman fibula brooch with intact pin, were brought in by the police after being seized.

A selection of Civil War finds are also featured in the display from a Charles II commemorative medal to a silver seal which features a Saltire and was made for the family of Sir Francis Hawley in 1642. Another attractive item making its first appearance is a gold poesy ring, usually given by lovers or friends who are separated during conflict, which is engraved with the motto: “A virtuous wife preserveth life.”

Glyn Hughes, Collections and Exhibitions Manager at the National Civil War Centre – Newark Museum, said: “This is such a wonderful opportunity for some of our special and hugely significant exhibits to be in the spotlight and for local people to engage with the history and origins of their area. I encourage as many people as possible to come down and discover these amazing items and hope that they’ll be inspired to explore those on display in our permanent Civil War and Newark Museum galleries too."

Councillor Rhona Holloway, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Visitors at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The National Civil War Centre and Newark Museum collections really are fascinating and every opportunity for our curatorial team to show them off should be cherished. Our area has an incredible story thanks to its location on important land and water routes and this free display is a great opportunity to discover more about it.”

The display is free to enjoy until Saturday 30th July, during the National Civil War Centre’s opening hours from 10am to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday. Find out more by following the Centre on Facebook.