Anthropologist and BBC TV Coast and Origins of Us presenter Professor Alice Roberts, will open Salisbury Museum’s new world-class Wessex Gallery of Archaeology at its Grand Opening in The Close on Saturday, 12 July from 10am to 4pm. The new £2.4 million Wessex Gallery, will house one of Europe’s most extensive collections of Stonehenge and prehistoric artefacts including the Amesbury Archer - popularly dubbed the ‘King of Stonehenge’ and the Wardour Hoard.
To mark the event the Museum will be hosting an admission-free day of action-packed celebrations, special events, exciting living history displays and demonstrations of traditional skills and crafts. There will also be other celebrity guests including Channel 4 Time Team presenter and field archaeologist Phil Harding, who will be demonstrating flint knapping – the ancient art of shaping tools and weapons from stones - which early the Britons used.
Facial reconstruction and chalk carving
Along with a free view of the new Wessex Gallery, members of the public will have the opportunity to see amazing Norman falconry displays; try on beautiful Norman dresses, or get suited and booted in a knight’s hefty chainmail armour complete with sword. There will also be ancient coppicing, stone masonry, pottery-making and wool dyeing demonstrations as well as a chance for people to try their hand at reconstructing a prehistoric face, carve a Stone Age chalk animal and experience an Anglo Saxon burial ritual.
With more than 2,500 rare and exciting pieces on show, the Gallery provides a fascinating look at early Britain.
“The Grand Opening of our new Wessex Gallery is going to be a fantastic all-day event with lots of exciting activities to see and do for all age groups,” says Adrian Green, Salisbury Museum director. “It’s also a great opportunity for people to see our amazing new Wessex Gallery which brings the prehistory and history of Stonehenge and Wessex to life. It’s one of the best displays and collections of its kind in the world with more than 2,000 rare and fascinating artefacts which tell the story of Stonehenge and early Britain from the mathematical genius of the ancient Britons to the transformational Roman and Norman invasions.”
The new gallery replaces the old Stonehenge, Pitt-Rivers and Early Man galleries and was funded with a grant of nearly £1.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Wessex Gallery Grand Opening is on Saturday, 12 July from 10am to 4pm at Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN. For further visitor information ring 01722 332151 or visit: www.salisburymuseum.org.uk
Admission is free on the opening day.