Archaeology news in Staffordshire!

It’s about time we had more news from Staffordshire. So, first things first – over 50 skeletons have been found on the site of a medieval hospital in Litchfield. The site – known as St John’s Hospital – was situated just outside the gates of the medieval town. It was associated with St Chad a Northumbrian saint whose shrine was in the church which later became the cathedral. It has a long history of being a centre for pilgrims and it is thought the remains found during development are those of medieval pilgrims. The excavation is due to finish this week and after that the bones will be analysed to determine sex and age. They will also able to tell us more about diet and health in medieval times and perhaps what the cause of death was for each individual. If you’d like to know more you can contact Stuart Palmer at Archaeology Warwickshire on 01926 412278 or email fieldarchaeology@warwickshire.gov.uk.

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Lichfield Cathedral also features in our second news item – the opening of a new blockbuster exhibition at the British Museum – Celts: Art and Identity as Cathedral has loaned several objects to the museum for the show including St Chad’s Gospels which date to the 8th century CE. This is the first major exhibition on the Celts and, in part, it is an attempt to tease out just who ‘the Celts’ were. As always the museum has prepared resources for schools and teachers. We are planning to visit what is sure to be a fantastic show fairly soon – workshops allowing – and Ian will be blogging about it as he is something of an expert on museums.

The Staffordshire Hoard is still on tour in the county and over the next few weeks you can catch it at the Walsall Leather Museum, until mid-December. The project to conserve the artefacts has been nominated for a prestigious award – The Pilgrim Trust Award, sponsored by the Institute for Conservation in the U.K. (ICON). You can catch up with Kayleigh Fuller, the project’s conservator on a recent blog here Staffordshire Hoard. Elements of the Hoard are also on permanent display in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Litchfield Cathedral, the Potteries Museum Stoke-on-Trent and Tamworth Castle. Do go and see the exhibitions for a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon material culture!

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