The largest ever collection of Roman coins found in Britain in one pot is to stay in Somerset, the county where it was found in April 2010. The so-called Frome Hoard, named after the place the coins were unearthed, is made up of around 53,000 coins dating back more than 1,700 years. It was feared that the hoard would be transferred to London, but the Museum of Somerset has raised the £320,250 needed to keep the coins in the county. Around £13,000 was raised through a fundraising campaign, while the National Heritage Memorial Fund gave the museum a grant of £294,000; the Art Fund donated over £50,000. The remaining funds will be used for the hoard’s conservation.
A CT scan has been carried out on the mummified skull of former Archbishop of Canterbury Simon Theobald who was beheaded outside the Tower of London during the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381. The skull, which usually rests in a wall niche at St Gregory’s Church in Sudbury, has visible axe marks but is otherwise sturdy considering its age. The facial reconstruction is due to be completed by the end of the summer.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington has launched a public campaign to identify 1,100 children from photographs taken in refugee camps throughout Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. The museum’s Remember Me campaign hopes reconnect some of the former refugees with relatives who survived the Nazi occupation, as well as find out more about the children’s lives once they left the camps. If you’d like to help with the search, visit http://rememberme.ushmm.org/
An investigation by a Dutch art historian on behalf of the Ulster Museum has dismissed speculations that a painting by Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens hanging in the museum was part of a haul looted by the Nazis in 1940. St Christopher carrying the Christ Child was bought by the museum in 1966 for £9,000 but questions arose as to whether it was part of a priceless collection that once belonged to Dutch Jewish art collector Jacques Goudstikker. The pieces were seized by Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering during the Nazi occupation of Holland.
An Iron Age hoard of gold found near Stirling is to stay in Scotland after a fundraising campaign by National Museums Scotland raised the required £462,000 to retain the objects. The four gold torcs were discovered in a field in September 2009 and date from between the 1st and 3rd century BC. They will now go on display in the National Collections.
Two hundred volunteers recently took to the summits of 10 hillforts in north Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire to test the theory that Iron Age communities once used the summits to communicate with each other. The volunteers signaled to each other with beacon fires and the experiment was declared a success by Denbighshire’s Heather and Hillforts project. The furthest link made between summits was a distance of approximately 15.5 miles.
A series of limestone caves on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire occupied between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago is one of 11 UK nominations for world heritage status. If the Creswell Crags nomination is successful, the caves will join locations such as Venice and the Great Barrier Reef as a site of global cultural significance. Numerous bone and flint artefacts have been found in the caves since Victorian times, along with unique rock art discovered in 2003.
A Mayan sculpture that sold for £2.5 million at auction in Paris could be a fake, according to Mexican officials. French auction house Drouot insists that the 5ft 4in statue is genuine and is over 1,000 years old. However, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History believes it does not match the style of the period it is supposedly from. The institute also claims that a further 66 pieces sold at the auction are also fakes.
Nant Gwrtheyrn quarry village has officially opened after a £5 million redevelopment. The Victorian quarry village and Welsh language centre in Gwynedd was once home to 200 quarry workers and their families, but after a fall in demand for granite cobblestones caused the quarries to close in 1939, the villagers gradually left the area. The assembly government and European grants have provided £3.8 million of the project funding.
Allan Bank in Grasmere, a property once lived in by poet William Wordsworth, has been damaged by fire. Built in the early 1800s, the house was home to Wordsworth and his family between 1808 and 1811 and is now a National Trust property, although it is not open to the public. The damage to the building is currently being assessed.