Archaeological riches?

Saturday morning was horrible – foggy and wet – so we headed for our nearest big town, Barrow in Furness.  It’s not the most romantic destination around, but it has all the ‘big stores’ to hit, plus The Dock Museum, which is great to poke round on a wet day.

The journey was interesting as the road south down the lake had flooded badly in half a dozen places after overnight rain.  We got through in our trusty 4×4 but I was glad we weren’t in something low-slung!

We got the chores out of the way first (tins of paint, grub from Tesco) then trotted along to the museum.  As ever there are all sorts of tidbits of information about Barrow’s history to while away an hour or so.  The shipbuilding industry, iron-ore working, Barrow’s sudden growth from small village to giant sprawl in the mid nineteenth century, and its role in the two world wars.

This time, we had the bonus of an extra exhibition.  Billed as ‘Archaeology on Show’, it celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society with an exploration of ‘the rich archaeological finds from Barrow and Cumbria’.

Sadly, although the finds might have been rich the exhibition wasn’t, terribly.  We’d expected more than about twelve separate exhibits: an aurochs horn, part of a stuffed reindeer, a few photographs of the county’s Anglo Saxon heritage.  It had the feeling of something put together by a village school rather than a premier society; the best word I can find to describe it is ‘sparse’.  We can’t complain too much as entry – to both the exhibition and the rest of the museum – is free, but I’d still have liked a bit more content from a county the size of Cumbria with a history of settlement dating back, apparently, 750,000 years.  A shame, as previous exhibitions have been really fascinating.


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