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Museum News

New exhibit: Anglo-Saxon house opens 14-15 October!

By 26 September 2016January 25th, 2021No Comments

On Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October, visitors to the Museum can see the official opening of our latest exhibit – a reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon hall house.

Over our two-day event there will be a fascinating programme of talks, demonstrations and readings, which will bring the Anglo-Saxon period to life.

This new addition sees the timespan covered by the Museum’s collection of exhibits broaden by 300 years – featuring examples of the homes, workplaces and public buildings from rural South East England between 950 to 1908.

Archaeological evidence

The Saxon house project has been researched by a team from the Museum with input from external experts, and is based on archaeological evidence from a site in Steyning, West Sussex from 950AD, which was excavated by a team led by Dr Mark Gardiner in 1988-89.

Above ground details have been informed by various sources, such as waterlogged sites in the Thames Basin, and individuals including Richard Darrah and Dr Damian Goodburn, both of whom have many years of experience both in examining pre-Norman timberworks and in carrying out experimental practical archaeology.

The following activities and demonstrations are planned but are subject to change.

Friday 14th October

At the Anglo-Saxon building:

  • 11.30 Opening of the Saxon building, with pupils from West Dean Primary School
  • 11.45 Everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England. Readings in Old English with explanations – Stephen Pollington, Historian and Author
  • 1.00 Herbs for the Elfshot and Flying Venoms. Informal talk – Christina Stapley, Medicinal Herbalist
  • 2.00 Thatching the Saxon building. Informal talk – Chris Tomkins, Thatcher
  • 2.30 Everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England. Readings in Old English with explanations – Stephen Pollington, Historian and Author
  • 3.00 Athelfarthingwort, Harespeckle and more – Anglo-Saxon herbs in daily life. Informal talk – Christina Stapley, Medicinal Herbalist

See Saxon pottery being made and fired near the building, hewing demonstration and herbal display throughout the day. Also see the Saxon dugout boat and have a go at wattling.

Saturday 15th October

At the Saxon building unless another location is given:

  • 11am Athelfarthingwort, Harespeckle and more – Anglo-Saxon herbs in daily life. Informal talk – Christina Stapley, Medicinal Herbalist
  • 11.30 Everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England. Readings in Old English with explanations – Stephen Pollington, Historian and Author
  • 12.00 talk by Dr Mark Gardiner, lead archaeologist on excavation of the building from Steyning
  • 12.30 Treewrighting in Saxon England. An informal presentation by Dr Damian Goodburn
  • 1.00 Herbs for the Elfshot and Flying Venoms. Informal talk – Christina Stapley, Medicinal Herbalist
  • 1.30 Everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England. Readings in Old English with explanations – Stephen Pollington, Historian and Author
  • 2.30 talk by Dr Mark Gardiner, lead archaeologist on excavation of the building from Steyning. In Crawley Hall
  • 3.15 Early music and musical instruments. Informal talk – Jez Smith, Musician
  • 3.30 Everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England. Readings in Old English with explanations – Stephen Pollington, Historian and Author

See Saxon pottery being made and fired near the building, Saxon textile demonstrations and musical instruments and herbal display throughout the day. Also see the Saxon dugout boat and have a go at wattling.

Regular Museum admission prices apply (free for Annual Members). Dogs on short leads are welcome and there is ample free parking.

Visitors with disabilities are advised to contact the Museum in advance of their visit, to discuss the easiest way to access the site.