The Research Begins!

Researching MAA's database.

Object research is well underway here at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in preparation for the Archaeology of Childhood exhibition. As the new HLF Project Assistant (Collections), I will spend the summer researching the collections at MAA creating object-lists before we draw up a shortlist for the exhibition.

Starting with the Romans, I have discovered everything from feeding bottles to dolls and I can’t wait to start opening boxes to assess and photograph the objects and begin researching them to help us tell their stories in the exhibition.

We have quickly learnt that our database doesn’t necessarily tell us all we need to know and it has become a task to navigate the correct terminology and key search-words. However our object-lists are growing and I am sure they will continue to do so as the project develops.

As we start delving into the stores we will keep you updated with objects or archives that catch our attention. Whether a Bronze Age miniature bow (keep an eye out for MAA curator Jody Joy’s blog on this) or a Roman clapper found in a child’s grave, each object will help us learn more about the archaeology of childhood and the collections here at MAA.

Eleanor Wilkinson, HLF Project Assistant (Collections)

Image: Researching MAA’s database.

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Learning From Each Other

One of the main outcomes for any HLF funded project are benefits for people, and in particular the opportunity to learn new skills. I think this applies not only to those who participate in these projects but also to those who run them.

As far as we are aware, this project is the first time that Cambridgeshire County Council’s Historic Environment Team (CHET) has formally worked with the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (MAA). We’ve cooperated in the past on some outreach events, but nothing on the scale of this project. The interesting thing is that, although we all regard ourselves as archaeologists of one form or another, we have different ways of working, different procedures, different vocabularies even. CHET’s main role is to ensure that archaeological material is excavated, prepared and stored in such a way as to make it useable by other people, whether it’s for education, display, research or just general interest. Our previous displays have consisted of a few things taken out of boxes and put in temporary cases, usually for no longer than a week and with temporary labels. Putting something on for this length of time is something we’ve never been involved in before; we don’t have the experience in preparing and monitoring such an exhibition. MAA do, and I look forward to CHET learning from them.

What can MAA learn from CHET in return? That’s for them to decide!

Quinton Carroll, Historic Environment Team Manager

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Image: The Cambridgeshire County Council’s archaeological store