Sunday, September 20, 2009

Harborough Hoards and History Day

Last Sunday it was Arts Fresco. Yesterday Market Harborough was again en fête, this time with Harborough Hoards and History Day to mark the reopening of the town's museum.

Harborough Museum has been closed for months while it has been refurbished to house the Hallaton Treasure, which consists of 14 excavated hoards of coins and associated finds including a Roman helmet, ingots, tankard handle, jewellery, pig and dog bones and pottery. They date from c. 100 BC to 50 AD.

The helmet is still being conserved, but will eventually be on display at the Harborough Museum. It is particularly interesting because it appears to be a ceremonial helmet that would have been presented as a gift. The theory is that it was presented to a British chieftain who had fought as a mercenary for Rome.

I was particularly interested in the Iron Age coins. Some have inscriptions, but what language are they in? One theory is that the coins were inspired by Roman coins their makers had seen and that they had roughly copied the Latin inscriptions without understanding them.

All of this suggests that there may have been a lot of contact between Britain and the Roman Empire well before Julius Caesar landed at Walmer in 55 BC.

As well as the newly reopened Museum there were Roman, Civil War and World War I re-enactments in the Square, costume displays at the Harborough Theatre and stalls under the Old Grammar School. The town was not as busy as last Sunday, but it was good to see another cultural event here.

And then there was Spencer Davis and the Animals in the evening.

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