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This is an archive site and is not updated. It represents works conducted by Oxford University Museums funded by Arts Council England between 2012-2018. For information about our current work please visit

History in the Making

11 March 13 -- jsuess

The CountyCollections, “History in the Making Project” is scoped to re-engage communities with the collections from their local area.

Hanney Brooch Engagement Project
In February the County Council Museums Team took the Hanney Brooch into St James Church of England Primary School in Hanney. On Monday 4thFebruary Curator of Archaeology Chris Ferguson and Archaeological Conservator Sarah Morton talked to the whole school and parents about the discovery and conservation of the brooch and its significance as a unique discovery from Saxon times – right on the children’s doorstep. Children engaged with Chris and Sarahin a lively question and answer session and were clearly delighted to have the opportunity to see the brooch close-up.

Later that week Chris and Sarahreturned along with Gill Munday and Jemma Shepherd from the Learning & Access team and artist Helen Jacobsto spend an afternoon with Years 5/6 engaging in typical Saxon crafts: spinning; weaving; making clay pinch pots and making their own copper brooch inspired by the Hanney brooch. The children were also able to examine the brooch and other artefacts under digital microscopes and take their own detailed photographs of the brooch. The activities were filmed by Jemma and photographs of the events were taken by Nigel Watts.

The events were extremely successful and very well evaluated by the Headteacher, children and parents.  The copper brooches and other work including poetry will form part of an exhibition at The Oxfordshire Museum in July.

A further community engagement programme with the brooch is being planned with Helen Jacobs and the Age Concern Day Centre for older people at Hinton Waldrist for April/May 2013.

Dr Chris Ferguson also spoke at BanburyMuseumabout the significance of the Hanney brooch and Anglo-Saxon Oxfordshire in February.
Alchester Tombstone – Britain’s earliest known legionary
Work continues on the Alchester tombstone projects. Dr Chris Ferguson, Curator of Archaeology, has been working with Ian Cartwright (Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford), to photograph and record the tombstone whilst Sarah Morton (Archaeological Conservator) has been leading work to conserve and mount this complicated object.

Oxfordshire County Museums has commissioned Monumental Sculptor, Giles MacDonald, to create a replica of the Alchester tombstone using traditional Roman techniques.

Stephen Barker, Learning & Participation Manager for the Soldiers of Oxfordshire is currently working in partnership with the County Museums Service leading a project with cadets from the Woodstock Army Cadet Detachment. The cadets will be visiting the Alchester site where the Roman tombstone was discovered; viewing the tombstone where it is kept at The Museums Resource Centre prior to conservation and then working with memorial sculptor Alec Peever to feed ideas into the creation of a contemporary war memorial which will eventually be situated at the new Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum at The Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock.

Both the replica and contemporary projects will be filmed by Sharon Woodward, Independent filmmaker, and will be displayed at the OxfordshireMuseum, Woodstockduring Festival of Archaeology week.