Families learn about Saxon living at Devizes museum

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Warriors Mark Rotedge and Mark Viggers give James Klyne, standing, and James and Alfred Stockton, front, an insight into Saxon times Warriors Mark Rotedge and Mark Viggers give James Klyne, standing, and James and Alfred Stockton, front, an insight into Saxon times

Wiltshire Museum in Devizes celebrated World Heritage Day on Saturday with a family fun day that centred on the area’s Saxon past.

Parents and children met Saxon ‘warriors’, heard stories about Saxon folklore and learned how to make Saxon swords and shields.

Museum director David Dawson said: “World Heritage Day was actually on Good Friday but we celebrated it on Saturday as it was more convenient.

“We chose the theme of Saxons because we are creating a new Saxon gallery. This is entirely separate from the Bronze Age galleries, which the Princess Royal officially opened two weeks ago.

“There are a lot of Saxon artefacts at the museum, including items found near Pewsey, in Market Lavington, and, of course, the Saxon Princess whose grave was discovered on Roundway Down in the 19th century.

“If she was found today it would be big news. She was buried by Oliver’s Castle and there was gold and silver jewellery found amongst the items in the grave.

“The new gallery will be the first chance we will have had to exhibit some of these things. We are in the midst of playing three-dimensional chess with the limited space we have at the museum but when it is done Wiltshire Museum will be among the best in the country.”

A Saxon graveyard was discovered in Market Lavington when the area to the north west of St Mary’s Church was being prepared for a new housing estate in 1990.

Dozens of graves were unearthed and many of the artefacts went to Wiltshire Museum. They will be among the exhibits in the new gallery, which will open later this year.

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