The Brightion Museum & Art Gallery resource, which is now being developed, will give members of the public and scholars greatly improved access to Brighton & Hove’s rich and renowned collection of archaeological artefacts.
One of the museum’s two local history galleries, Exploring Brighton, located on the ground floor of Brighton Museum, will close from 8 May 2017, to enable the space to be refurbished for the delivery of the new gallery. Objects removed from Exploring Brighton will be considered for redisplay as part of a later refresh of the museum’s approach to telling Brighton & Hove’s stories.
“Plans for the structure and content of the new gallery are still being developed but there will be a strong emphasis on the personal stories of Brighton & Hove ancestors,” said Janita Bagshawe, Head of Royal Pavilion & Museums which manages the city’s museums and collections. “We are now working with scientists in the fields of archaeology and DNA profiling, to learn new things about the people who lived locally in the past.”
The archaeology collection has been developed since the late 1800s and comprises of several large-scale complete excavation archives, and contains internationally important finds from the Palaeolithic to post-Medieval Britain.
These include the 3,200-year-old Hove Amber Cup, which is one of Britain’s most important Bronze Age finds and made from amber from northern Europe, possibly the Baltic region. It was discovered in 1856 when a burial mound was excavated to make way for the building of Palmeira Avenue, in Hove. Inside the burial mound was an oak coffin carved from a tree trunk. It contained bone fragments, a copper-alloy dagger, whetstone and an axe-head as well as the precious amber cup.
Dr David Rudling, President of the Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society, said: “After years of campaigning for a return of a gallery to display some of the very rich archaeological heritage of the Brighton area, our Society is pleased that this is now planned to happen.”